Lansing, MI –
Lieutenant Governor John Cherry wants to charge water bottlers 10 cents a bottle to pay for college scholarships and restoring Michigan's wetlands protection program. Both were cut from the budget earlier this year.
Cherry says he does not believe the plan will drive water bottlers out of the state because Michigan has more freshwater available than almost anywhere in the country. He says the state should charge the bottled water industry for using a public resource.
"I, for one, truly believe that the public's property is the public's property and if it's going to be given away, there should be some benefit derived by the public."
But water bottlers say they will move jobs to other states if the tax is enacted. Environmental groups say water should not be treated as a commodity. Governor Granholm also proposed as bottled water tax to help balance the budget, but the Legislature would not even debate the idea.
Cherry is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.