CHICAGO, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Beverage groups in Chicago sued the city over a 5-day-old tax on bottled water, alleging the tax violates state law.
The Chicago City Council on Jan. 1 imposed a first-in-the-nation 5-cent tax on bottled water sold in the city in the hopes of decreasing plastic waste and generating $10.5 million in revenue, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday.
The lawsuit says the tax is illegal because it evades a state law prohibiting taxation on food consumed away from the establishment of purchase.
The suit states bottled water is not classified as a soft drink and should be therefore considered in the same group as milk, sports beverages and teas, a group not subject to tax.
"It seems like this is a penalty for people making smart beverage choices," said Joe Doss, the president of plaintiff International Bottled Water Association.
Jenny Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Law Department, said the tax is justified and legal.
"Unlike these other beverages, tap water is a generally available, safe alternative in the city of Chicago," Hoyle said. "That provides a reasonable difference that distinguishes bottled water from these other (exempt) beverages."