Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Proposed tax for bottling Maine water sparks controversy

Regarding the Dec. 14 article, "In selling Maine's fresh waters, does Maine get a cut?": The current water tax initiative, "Maine's Water Dividend Trust," needs clarification. Inaccurate claims and scare tactics have skewed the issue. An industry whose existence relies on a continuing supply of clean, plentiful water will not "suck the well dry."

What about other businesses that utilize fresh water resources (manufacturing, retail, hospitality)? Why target a single industry, one that uses a fraction of the total water used? The tax would primarily affect Poland Spring Bottling.

Poland Spring, however, uses less than 0.2 percent of all the fresh water used in Maine. It spends millions yearly to monitor and protect the health of the water sources and surrounding areas. It is a safe, nonpolluting company providing high-paying, needed manufacturing jobs.

According to the tax initiative's website, the funds are not wholly earmarked for the conservation of fresh water. No more than 10 percent of funds will be used for this.

If this water tax is approved as proposed, there could be 600 jobs at stake, as Poland Spring would have to reevaluate its ability to do business here. Maine can't afford to lose more employment opportunities.Deborah DanforthEmployee, Poland Spring BottlingAuburn, Maine

As a lifelong resident of Maine, I am all for having one of the world's largest corporations pay a little tax on our clean water.

Given a choice between $100 million in tax money or the loss of 600 jobs, it's a no- brainer. In Maine, we could all use the money.

Twenty cents a gallon in tax for something that sells for $1.50 on the shelf is fair. It's time to level the playing ground. Regarding the possibility that the company will leave: I think Maine was doing just fine before Poland Spring came to town.

I think we all just want what is fair. The average Alaskan receives about $1,500 a year in oil revenues for their natural resource. …

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