ACWA Comments on ‘Opt-Out’ Water Bill Mandate New Twist on Statewide Water Tax Proposal

  • by Will Holbert
  • Aug 21, 2018
  • News Releases

SACRAMENTO – ACWA Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck issued the following statement in response to SB 845:

“This twist on the water tax proposal from earlier this year would impose a costly, complicated and inefficient program by requiring more than 3,000 local community water systems of all sizes to act for the state and solicit and collect donations on customers’ local water bills and send all of the money to Sacramento. By forcing thousands of local entities to change their billing software and hire staff to implement this new concept, the bill would be counterproductive. The implementation costs would work against the affordability of water across the state. This proposal could be greatly simplified by adding a new voluntary contribution fund check off to the California Form 540 and have it efficiently collected at a much lower cost by one agency at the state level – the California Franchise Tax Board. This would be much more efficient and would not work against water affordability.

“End-of-session legislative action is unnecessary. The Legislature considered the proposed water tax earlier this year. The state Budget Conference Committee acted on June 8 to reject the budget trailer bill proposing a mandatory tax on water and instead set aside $23.5 million General Fund dollars for safe drinking water to be allocated in August.

“California voters approved Proposition 68 in June with $250 million for safe drinking water that is prioritized for disadvantaged communities. If voters approve a second bond this November, Proposition 3, an additional $500 million would go toward safe drinking water, again prioritized for disadvantaged communities.

“SB 845 is an 11th-hour proposal. No policy committee has taken public testimony on this new proposal. The proponents developed the proposed collection mechanism without the input of the thousands of community water systems that would be charged with implementing it.”

ACWA is leading a coalition of more than 200 public water agencies, cities, business organizations and statewide associations urging the Legislature to reject this new statewide “opt-out” water mandate. For more information about the coalition and background, visit www.acwa.com/no-water-tax.

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