14 Feb 2007

More criticism of American Samoan plan to raise funds for arts festival

9:53 am on 14 February 2007

American Samoa's main supplier of bottled water, GHC Reid Inc., says it opposes a bill to impose a ten cent tax on imported bottled water.

The tax is to raise funds to host the Pacific Arts Festival which will be held in American Samoa next year.

A company official says the tax will increase the wholesale price of a case of bottled water by $2.40, a 60% increase, and consumers would pay 75 cents to $1 for a bottle.

The current retail price is 50 cents a bottle.

The company says the authorities water is being promoted as a healthy drink but if the tax is applied a can of soda will be cheaper than a bottle of water.

Members of the Festival Organizing Committee say they are concerned that the increased cost of bottled water will fuel negative feedback from consumers.

They also say the tax will not even come close to raising the necessary funds to host the festival.