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Opening Arguments

How to dry up revenue

Politicians get so used to taxing everything that they think people will up with a tax on anything. But if what you're buying is an indefensible luxury in the first place, people aren't likely to keep indulging as their discretionary income gets eaten away:

Are Chicagoans trekking to the suburbs to buy cases of bottled water -- and avoid a new nickel-a-container tax that adds $1.20 to the price of a 24-pack? Or are they making the switch to tap water to save money?

One or the other is happening. Maybe both.

Revenues from Chicago's new bottled water tax are trickling in -- at a rate nearly 40 percent below projections -- exacerbating a budget crunch that has already prompted Mayor Daley to order $20 million in spending cuts.

Nobody could see this coming? "Ruthless" has apparently substituted for "smart" a little too long in Chicago.


Harl Delos
Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:33am

I don't think anyone is going to drive to the suburbs for $1.20 - but I can imagine some bootlegging and blackmarket sales going on.

After all, it already costs $1 to $2 at most restaurants for a bottle of water.

Next time you're at Costco, pick up some Kirkland spring water. It's 35 half-liter bottles for $4.78 - about 13c a bottle.

Stick them in the fridge at work, and a coin box next to it, saying "Spring water - 25c" and you'd probably do a land-office business. Even considering pilferage, it should be worth the effort. You're going to Costco for other stuff anyhow, right?

And the extra nickel just makes it that much better a deal for your customers.

Ruthless hasn't substituted for smart. It's just made smart a little more advantageous.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 3:13pm

With bottled water being more expensive than gas, maybe people are finally starting to smarten up. If you simply must drink your water out of a bottle, rinse out the empty, fill it with tap water and put it back in the fridge--tastes the same.

Sat, 03/29/2008 - 11:08am

Harl, we should be so lucky to have a Costco here! Here in Fort Wayne, we aren't that lucky.