CHICAGO — A lawsuit seeking to invalidate Chicago’s new 5-cent tax on individual bottles of water was filed here Friday by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, the International Bottled Water Association and the American Beverage Association. The tax that took effect Jan. 1 was designed to encourage tap water consumption and subsequently reduce plastic bottled water waste. It’s also projected to help offset declines in revenue from the city’s water system and result in $10.5 million in annual revenue. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs argue that the tax is illegal and will encourage Chicago residents to spend all of their grocery dollars elsewhere. “The city doesn’t have any authority to tax food that is consumed off-premise,” said IRMA spokesman Peter Gill. “The tax is also in violation of the state’s uniformity clause that says that all like products must be taxed in a similar manner. Taxing one food product and not another is not fair or legal and it imposes a burden on retailers, consumers and employees.” Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s press office did not immediately respond to SN’s request for comment.
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