A raft of trade associations have filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago over the recent introduction of a "disconcerting" tax on bottled water.

The American Beverage Association (ABA), Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), Illinois Food Retailers Association and the International Bottled Water Association have filed a suit against the city for its US$0.05-per bottle tax on bottled water. Revenue generated by the US$0.05-per-bottle tax, introduced at the beginning of this year, will be used by the city for general purposes and not environmental purposes, the trade bodies claimed late last week.

"We're going to stand up for our customers, both retailers and consumers who are being forced to pay a tax on a healthy product like bottled water," said Susan Neely, president of the ABA. "We're not just going to take a tax like this without raising a challenge. It's disconcerting that government spending is leading government officials to start taxing products that are good for you simply to cover their budget deficits.

"This tax just defies common sense any way you look at it," Neely continued. "We're hopeful this lawsuit will help common sense reign again for the sake of our customers."

The tax is expected to raise around $10.5m for the city, the trade associations have claimed, and will lead Chicago residents to migrate to the suburbs to buy their bottled water.

"They're going to buy more than just bottled water at those stores," added David Vite, CEO of IRMA. "They're going to buy all their groceries there. This tax is just bad business for Chicago and its consumers."