Nestle may lose $20 million per year with MI bill - WNEM TV 5

Nestle may lose $20 million per year with MI bill

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LANSING, MI (CBS) -

Nestle may lose out on $20 million per year if a new bill in Lansing is signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

The legislation would tax Nestle for bottling and selling Michigan's fresh water for profit.

Nestle currently draws 1.1 million gallons of water per day from their pumping locations in Michigan.

Right now, the company only pays a small fee to pump the water and to sell it to you.

The world's largest bottled water company is working to pump more water out of Michigan.

"The fact they are not paying for it, taking it from our state, I kind of question that," State Rep. Pete Lucido said.

Rep. Lucido said the company should pay up, so he's introducing a bill that would make Nestle and others pay a $0.05 fee for every gallon of water they take from Michigan and sell to consumers. The bill could cost nestle millions of dollars

"When somebody cuts a tree down, they pay,” Rep. Lucido said. “When somebody takes oil or gas, they pay. Why are we not letting them pay for water?"

Nestle is against Rep. Lucido's bill. In a statement, the company said water bottlers in Michigan account for a fraction of percent of the total water used in the state.

Nestle adds it would be inappropriate for the state to impose an excise tax on just one type of water user.

"The word they use is inappropriate,” Rep. Lucido said. “Nestle says it's inappropriate in their statement. I don't find anything illegal. I find it very legal to do what I'm doing. I'm here has a lawmaker."

This isn't an issue that just Republicans are noticing. Democrat State Rep. Stephanie Chang remains cautious about allowing Nestle to sell more of Michigan's water.

"There is definitively a big disconnect between the fact there is still thousands of people without water, but we are potentially considering giving a company [more] ability to actually bottle our fresh water and sell it back to us," State Rep. Stephanie Chang said.

Lucido said the fees collected from Nestle would go towards improving roads.

"It's time for us as citizens to say you also have to contribute to or state other than a job, other than going and giving us the water, you should pay for that which you are taking from the state because you are profiting by it," Rep. Lucido said.

Rep. Lucido's bill is heading to committee where he hopes it gets voted on. So far, it seems lawmakers are receptive to his idea.

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