ACWA President Urges Members to Support Campaign Against Proposed Drinking Water Tax

  • by Brent Hastey
  • Feb 16, 2018
  • Voices on Water

The Brown Administration and the proponents of SB 623 (Monning, D-Carmel) are seeking to impose a new tax on drinking water through a budget trailer bill in the State Legislature. The proposed tax, which would be paid by both residential and business customers, collected by local water agencies and sent to Sacramento, would establish California’s first tax on drinking water. We should not tax a resource that is essential to life. This tax also would set a precedent for future taxes on urban and agricultural water use.

ACWA needs all of our member agencies to continue advancing a better solution and help stop the proposed tax. As ACWA’s new President, I urge ACWA member agencies to get involved in this effort. The intent behind SB 623 and the budget trailer bill is to fill gaps in funding for disadvantaged communities (DACs) and low-income residents without access to safe drinking water. As Chair of ACWA’s DAC Drinking Water Initiative Task Force, I completely understand this critical problem. Some DACs and low-income residents in some areas of the state do not have access to safe drinking water. This should be unacceptable for all of us. This is why ACWA agrees with the intent behind this effort but not with the approach. ACWA is advancing a more appropriate and responsible funding solution – a balanced funding package comprised of continuing federal safe drinking water funds, voter approved general obligation bond funds, the assessments related to nitrates proposed by the Brown Administration and some funding from the state’s general fund.

Earlier this week, ACWA distributed an Outreach Alert to ACWA members with requested actions to continue to build our oppose-unless-amended coalition and share our concerns regarding the new budget trailer bill vehicle with legislators, the public and the media. ACWA’s effectiveness in opposing the proposed tax on water will heavily depend on the success of our renewed campaign.

Please sign onto ACWA’s coalition letter, if you have not yet done so. You can be added to it by contacting ACWA State Relations Analyst Melissa Sparks. Please also review the Outreach Alert and take the immediate actions as requested using the tools provided.

This is one of the most important efforts undertaken by ACWA and our member agencies in recent years. ACWA member agencies and ACWA staff are working hard to better educate the Brown Administration and the State Legislature, but considering the negative consequences of this proposed tax and the dangerous precedent it could set, we must do much more. That is where your action will make a crucial difference.

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