Senate Proposes New Funding Alternative for Safe Drinking Water Solutions

  • by Heather Engel
  • May 15, 2019
  • Water News

Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 today rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget trailer bill language that proposes a water tax, instead supporting a new funding alternative for safe drinking water solutions.

The new budget trailer bill language proposes that the Legislature continuously appropriate $150 million annually from the General Fund to a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which is proposed in SB 200 (Monning). The funding will only become available if SB 200 is enacted into law. SB 200 outlines projects that would be eligible for funding, how the funds would be prioritized and administered, among other details. The bill does not currently include a funding mechanism and ACWA has maintained a “watch” position on the bill.

“ACWA agrees with the Governor that the safe drinking water problem has to be solved. The issue has been identifying an appropriate funding mechanism,” said Cindy Tuck, ACWA Deputy Executive Director of Government Relations. “We’re encouraged to see the Senate Budget Subcommittee approve a solution that would provide funding without using a water tax that would make water less affordable for residents and businesses.”

ACWA and a large coalition have an oppose-unless-amended position on the Governor’s budget trailer bill language because it proposes a water tax.  ACWA and a large coalition also have an oppose-unless-amended position on AB 217 (E. Garcia), which also proposes a water tax. ACWA and the California Municipal Utilities Association have sponsored SB 669 (Caballero) to create the Safe Drinking Water Trust to be funded with an infusion of General Fund dollars during a budget surplus year.

SB 669 is pending on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Suspense Calendar, and AB 217 is pending on the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s Suspense Calendar. Both bills are expected to be acted on Thursday, May 16.

For questions about the proposals for a safe drinking water funding, please contact Tuck at cindyt@acwa.com or (916) 441-4545.

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