What’s new on the Tennessee tap water story?
When Tennessee legislators passed a bill to require the state to pay for bottled water, some wondered whether they were paying for the same thing.
But it turns out, Tennessee is paying for both.
Tennessee is now the first state in the nation to tap into the federal carbonated water tax to help pay for its water supply, a move that will help the state keep up with the rising costs of water and the growing demand for carbonated beverages.
According to Tennessee Department of Environmental Quality, the carbonated beverage tax was passed into law in January, 2017.
That’s when Tennessee’s carbonated-water tax rate, currently 3.9 cents per gallon, went up from 3.25 cents per gallons in 2018.
Tennessee’s other carbonated taxes, such as the state’s tax on beer and wine, were also increased to 3.5 cents per liter and 3.3 cents per kilogram in 2018, respectively.
While Tennessee was the first to increase the carbonation tax, it was also the first U.S. state to increase its rate.
And it wasn’t just Tennessee that did so.
Other states have also increased their rates since the legislation was passed.
New Hampshire, for instance, has increased its rate from 2.99 cents per litre to 3 cents per ounce.
Iowa, Oregon, California, Washington and Vermont have also raised their rates in the last two years.
“The carbonation beverage tax in Tennessee is an important step to address rising water bills,” said Tennessee state Sen. Steve Leath, who sponsored the bill that was signed into law.
“While the carbonate beverage tax is an indirect tax, this measure will help us pay for water infrastructure while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping the state meet the goals of the Clean Water Act.”
Tennessee has spent $6.5 million since last year on the carbonating beverage tax, according to Tennessee Environment.
It is now a $2.5 billion dollar revenue source, according the Tennessee Department for Environmental Quality.