Local water officials object to proposed state ‘water tax’
Local water officials object to proposed state ‘water tax’.
Water officials in San Diego County have come out against a proposed state law that would impose a new monthly fee on all residential and commercial water users in California, to pay for programs that provide access to clean and safe drinking water in communities where water sources are contaminated.
At its meeting in August, the board of the Santa Fe Irrigation District voted to oppose the proposed law, Senate Bill 623, authored by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), unless it is amended to remove the proposed fee on water users.
The Santa Fe district doesn’t oppose the goal of providing clean drinking water to communities that lack it, said spokeswoman Jessica Parks, but the district does object to the imposition of a new state fee on water customers.
To add more fees and taxes will only harm our customers.” In a recently published op-ed piece, Water Authority chairman Mark Muir wrote that money for the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund” should instead come from existing sources such as the state general fund, federal safe drinking water funds, the newly authorized state cap-and-trade program or general obligation bonds.
“We don’t at all dispute the intent of the bill,” Farrel said.
Supporters of the bill said 300 communities across the state, home to as many as 1 million Californians, lack access to clean and safe drinking water.
The bill would also provide emergency water supplies and money for operation and maintenance of water treatment facilities, Rempel said.
The old adage about the camel’s nose under the tent is appropriate, Farrel said.
The bill would have to be approved by both houses of the Legislature by Sept.15 to become law during the Legislature’s 2017 session, officials said.