Sacramento is setting its eyes on the latest resource it can tax in California — drinking water.
For the first time in California’s history, lawmakers are proposing a 95-cent per month tax on your water bill. Senate Bill 623 would establish a new water connection tax, fertilizer tax and milk tax to raise about $200 million for a new “Safe and Affordable Water” fund.
While we all can all agree that all Californians should have access to safe and clean drinking water, there are ample general fund resources and many federal grants available to pay for those costs. The answer is to this problem is not imposing a new $200 million annual water tax.
Supporters of SB623 will argue that this legislation will help those who are poor, disadvantaged, and reside in rural areas. It does not. If you are a private groundwater well owner, you will not be eligible under this bill to apply for state or federal funding to address any contaminants in your water. Adding a tax on drinking water will only make clean and safe water less affordable for all Californians.
According to the California Tax Foundation, since the beginning of this year Sacramento lawmakers have introduced more than 90 bills that would cost taxpayers more than $370 billion annually in higher taxes and fees. Now these lawmakers want to add another tax but this time on your drinking water. Will there be anything that is not taxed in California?
Winston Churchill once said, “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” And I agree, continuously taxing Californians is not the answer.
When SB623 was presented in the Environmental Safety and Toxics Material Committee, I wanted to support it. It was a feel-good bill that was trying to find a solution for getting more clean drinking water in California and it didn’t have any burdensome tax language. It was my hope that the bill would improve once it left the Appropriations Committee. But in the end, I was wrong. The solution they came up with was to add more than one tax to help fund the program.
California is the fifth largest economy in the world, with a $183 billion state budget and $125 billion general fund that is intended to fund essential government services such as education, health and public safety. The taxpayers of our state have already provided the necessary funding for our Legislature to solve any challenge that impacts our…