Dec 15, 2009
Michigan continues to give away its biggest natural resource away for free
Here’s a pretty simple question? Who does the ground water in Michigan belong to, as well as the water of the Great Lakes and our numerous lakes, rivers and streams?
It seems to me it belong to the people, so why are bottled water companies like for Nestle Waters North America Inc. pulling it out of the ground for free? I guarantee this, Alaska doesn’t give its oil away for free, and every Alaska resident gets an annual check. Try this, go to the local 7-11 or party store and try buying a bottle of water for under $1. You simply can’t do it.
Bottled water is the single largest growth area among all beverages, that includes alcohol, juices and soft drinks. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over the last decade, from 10.5 gallons in 1993 to 22.6 in 2003, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.
Lt. Gov. John Cherry has proposed a 10-cent per bottle surcharge on bottled water. It will not be a direct tax to the consumer, but to the bottler. The modest proposal will raise $118 million a year, and it will be used to restore the Michigan Promise Scholarship axed last month in the state budget.
“It's time for the big bottlers to pay their water bill, just like you and I do,” Cherry said. “We can use the proceeds from that water bill to fund the education our young people need to compete, as well as the protection of our water resources Michigan desperately needs.”
Education is the number one factor that will help diversify the economy and improve the economy. The $4,000 Promise Scholarship, which impacts higher education funding for 96,000 students, was axed, and parents and students are livid over it. It will cost $100 million to restore the scholarship.
The leftover $18 million would go toward funding the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)'s wetlands protection program, which nearly was transferred to the federal government this fiscal year for lack of funding, and other conservation initiatives.
“We are surrounded by majestic Great Lakes, as well as tens of thousands of inland lakes, rivers, and streams,” Cherry said. “For hundreds of years, water has defined our lives, our livelihoods, and our unique Michigan culture. Today, it is threatened by pollution and depletion.”
Although nothing in the legislation would stop the producer from passing the cost onto the consumer, considering they pay nothing for our water; little of the cost should be passed onto the consumer.
As expected, Nestle, other bottlers and Republicans immediately began running around like Chicken Little telling us the sky was falling and it was a “job killer.” Really, perhaps the bottlers can go to the southwest part of the country and get their free water.