Supporters of a water tax on Maine’s largest bottlers fell roughly 1,400 signatures short of the number needed to place the proposal on the November 2006 ballot. Supporters were seeking a 20-cent tax on every gallon of water. Poland Spring, the world’s third largest bottlers, was facing upwards of $100 million in new taxes. Dick Dyer, a spokesman for the tax hike group suggested that it has “never been our intention to drive any of the water companies out of the state.” Too bad that’s what would have happened. Maine already has a very fragile economy that suffers from the nations highest state and local tax burden. In addition, Poland Springs officials already plan on discussing the business climate with state officials before moving forward with plans to open a third bottling facility. They also noted that had the tax passed, they likely would have left the state.
Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.