ACWA Supports Safe Drinking Water Solutions, But Taxing Water is Not the RIGHT Approach

  • by Kathleen Tiegs and Brent Hastey
  • Aug 23, 2017
  • Voices on Water

Today, a legislative committee in Sacramento will consider a bill that would impose the first-ever statewide tax on Californians’ water. The bill, SB 623 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), addresses the very serious problem of ensuring safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities.  ACWA’s Board of Directors and members have made it a high priority to support bond funds and other drinking water funding to address this serious social and public health issue, but SB 623 which would impose a new tax on water is not the right approach. ACWA is actively opposing this bill.

ACWA and its members strongly support the goal of ensuring disadvantaged communities have access to safe drinking water. ACWA has been working to develop effective solutions and advance sensible funding strategies. We understand that without water for drinking, cooking and bathing, people’s lives hang in the balance. That is exactly why it is so important to find the RIGHT solution.

Although it is being called a “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee,” make no mistake about it – this is a tax, not a fee. And what’s also troubling about the proposal is that its specifics weren’t released until the eleventh hour when lawmakers returned to Sacramento for the final weeks of session. The huge shift in public policy that this bill proposes deserves a full vetting in policy committees and beyond. The tax element in this bill has never been debated in a policy hearing.

ACWA opposes SB 623 for many reasons, not the least of which is that taxing Californians for something that is essential to life does not make sense and would work against water affordability. If passed, SB 623 opens the door to future taxes on water to solve other social issues, further eroding local affordability of water. Customers’ water bills could become vehicles for revenue streams for state-run programs. This bad policy would essentially turn hundreds of local water agencies into taxation entities that send money to Sacramento. SB 623 is just not sound policy.

There is a better solution. ACWA is working to advance an effective funding package that includes dollars from the state’s General Fund, ongoing funds from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and general obligation bond monies that have been approved by voters for the specific purpose of assisting disadvantaged communities. ACWA has been accused by SB 623 supporters of “stepping away from ag” but that is not the case. ACWA’s proposed funding package accommodates the “ag solution,” an assessment proposed by agriculture related to nitrates in groundwater.

We all want safe drinking water for every Californian, especially those living in disadvantaged communities. A lack of safe drinking water is a public health and social issue that will take focused leadership on the state level. SB 623 is not the answer.

ACWA will continue to fight for the right solution. Our state deserves it.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Priority Issues Bulletin

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

2017 Year in Review

During 2017, ACWA and its membership proved how strength through collaboration can achieve goals unprecedented in terms of complexity and […]

No Water Tax Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Federal Regulatory Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

2017 Summary of Legislation

ACWA’s 2017 Summary of Legislation provides concise information on legislation enacted in the first year of the 2017-’18 legislative session that […]

2017 Summary of Appellate Cases

ACWA’s  2017 Summary of Appellate Cases details court decisions in 2016-’17 that may be of interest to ACWA member agencies […]

Coalition Comments on Changes to Proposed Regulation Prohibiting Wasteful Water Use Practices

Submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board on Feb. 14, 2018.

Comments on Changes to Proposed Regulation Prohibiting Wasteful Water Use Practices

Submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board on Feb. 14, 2018.

2018 Federal Briefing Booklet

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Water Bonds 2018 Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comments on Initial CWC Staff Evaluation of WSIP Projects’ Public Benefit Ratios

Submitted to the California Water Commission on Jan. 26, 2018.

Comments on Preliminary Draft of California Water Plan Update 2018

Submitted to the California Department of Water Resources on Jan. 16, 2018

ACWA Scholarships Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Lead Testing & Service Line Inventory Webinar

On Jan. 9, in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board, ACWA hosted an informational webinar for public and […]

Comment on Sustainable Management Criteria Draft Best Management Practices

Submitted to the California Department of Water Resources on Jan. 8, 2018.

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Mosquito Threats on the Rise and Californians are Nurturing the Threat

Mosquito Awareness Week educates California residents on preventing mosquito-borne viruses  SACRAMENTO, APRIL 13, 2018 – There has been a steep […]

MNWD Board of Directors Honored with WaterNow Alliance Impact Award

The Moulton Niguel Water District Board of Directors were honored with a WaterNow Alliance Impact Award for accelerating innovative and […]

$3 Million in Grants Awarded for Local Groundwater Planning in Sonoma County

Santa Rosa, CA – The California Department of Water Resources recently announced that it will award $1 million to each […]

Inland Empire Top Workplace Names Director of Water Resources

Riverside, Calif. – Western Municipal Water District (Western) has named Ryan Shaw, a seasoned public-sector leader with nearly 15 years […]

EMWD Recognized for Outstanding Community Outreach

Perris, CA — Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) this week was honored with two awards for outstanding community outreach through […]

March/April Priority Issues Update Available to Members

The March/April 2018 Priority Issues Update is now available online to members. The update is bullet-style summary of the latest […]

RWA Invites Public to Vote for Their Favorite H2O Hero Video

SACRAMENTO— Sacramento-area middle school and high school students explored their H2O Hero in 100 public service videos submitted in the […]

Santa Margarita Water District Continues to be Recognized for Transparency

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – The Santa Margarita Water District is honored to receive the  “District Transparency Certificate of Excellence” by […]

DWR Finalizes $85.8 Million in Grants for Local SGMA Implementation

The California Department of Water Resources on April 4 released the following statement regarding grant decisions for groundwater sustainability projects […]

CWC Sets Additional Public Meetings with Applicants for Water Storage Funding

In response to Legislative and public requests, California Water Commission (CWC) staff is scheduling another round of meetings with Water […]

DWR Announces POTENTIAL USE OF LAKE OROVILLE MAIN SPILLWAY NEXT WEEK

The California Department of Water Resources today released the following statement regarding the use of Lake Oroville’s main spillway. SACRAMENTO […]

New RWA Outreach Campaign Encourages Residents to “Check Before You Water”

Free Moisture Meters Available at BeWaterSmart.info* SACRAMENTO–Looks can be deceiving when it comes to knowing when to water your landscape. […]

Late Winter Storms Bolster Snowpack In Sierra, But Statewide Water Content Remains Far Below Average

Following one of the driest Februaries in California history, late winter storms increased the Sierra Nevada snowpack but were not […]

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District Accepts $287,000 Insurance Refund

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District’s (EVMWD) focus over the last several years on increasing employee safety and training and reducing […]

ACWA Members Encouraged to Formally Support Two Water Bonds in 2018

Californians will have two opportunities in 2018 to take a significant step in securing the state’s water future by voting […]