ACWA, Members Testify at Assembly Budget Subcommittee Hearing by Heather Engel Mar 20, 2019 Water News ACWA staff and several coalition members testified today at the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 hearing to voice opposition to the proposed statewide water tax and support for a better approach in ACWA-sponsored SB 669, The Safe Drinking Water Trust. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a statewide water tax that is based on the SB 623 (Monning) framework and appears in budget trailer bill language. The Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee rejected very similar language proposed by the Brown Administration in the State Budget process in 2018. “We agree with the governor that there’s a problem and we agree that there needs to be action this year, but this can be solved without a water tax,” ACWA Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck testified at the hearing. Tuck and other proposed water tax opponents noted several reasons for their opposition, including: it’s bad policy to tax an essential resource; a tax would be costly for water systems to implement and manage, thereby increasing the cost of water to residents and businesses; and it would set a bad precedent for additional taxes on water. ACWA and the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) are sponsoring a better alternative in SB 669 (Caballero), which would help community water systems in disadvantaged communities provide access to safe drinking water. The Trust would be funded with an infusion of General Fund dollars during a budget surplus year. The state would invest the principal, and the net income would provide the needed ongoing revenue stream for drinking water solutions in disadvantaged communities In addition to testifying at today’s hearing and the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Thursday, an ACWA-led coalition of more than 200 organizations submitted a letter to the subcommittees to oppose the budget trailer bill language unless the water tax language is deleted. SB 669 is expected to be heard by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 10.