Assemblyman Santabarbara Introduces Bill to Repeal State’s Bottled Water Tax

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced new legislation he has introduced in the State Assembly that would repeal the state's 4 percent sales tax on bottled water. New York is one of only four states that taxes bottled water at a higher rate than other essential food and drinks, like bread and milk.

“Water is the most essential grocery item and should not be taxed,” Santabarbara said.

Santabarbara’s bill would eliminate the sales tax on bottled water, reclassifying it among other essential grocery items that are exempt from sales tax under the following criteria:

  • Sold for human consumption
  • Sold unheated
  • Sold in the same form and condition, quantities, and packaging as is commonly used by retail food stores

A listing taxable and tax exempt food and beverages in New York can be found here: Tax Bulletin ST-525. On the list, Santabarbara noted that while an essential item like bottled water is taxed in New York State, junk food items like donuts, cookies, popcorn, potato chips, and even the candy “Fruit Rollups” are tax exempt. 

“With the summer months approaching, this bill will save New Yorkers money when they need to buy bottled water,” Santabarbara said. “Whether it’s preparing for an emergency when it may be the only option or even during routine water main breaks, bottled water is a necessity, not a luxury.” 

This bill will bring New York on par with 33 other states in the country, which do not tax bottled water. This bill will not affect the five-cent bottle deposit paid by consumers to encourage recycling.