Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes tax on drinking water in first budget
In California’s new 2019-2020 California budget titled, “California For All,” Governor Gavin Newsom introduced what he calls the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.”
Sfgate.com reports the fund would, “enable the State Water Resources Control Board to assist communities, particularly disadvantaged communities, in paying for the short-term and long-term costs of obtaining access to safe and affordable drinking water.”
The budget describes the fund as:
Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund—Establish a new special fund, with a dedicated funding source from new water, fertilizer, and dairy fees, to enable the State Water Resources Control Board to assist communities, particularly disadvantaged communities, in paying for the short-term and long-term costs of obtaining access to safe and affordable drinking water. This proposal is consistent with the policy framework of SB 623, introduced in the 2017-18 legislative session. The Budget also includes $4.9 million General Fund on a one-time basis for the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Food and Agriculture to take initial steps toward implementation of this new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program, including (1) implementation of fee collection systems, (2) adoption of an annual implementation plan, and (3) development of a map of high-risk aquifers used as drinking water sources.
Although the details of the proposed plan are unknown, former Governor Jerry Brown introduced then abandoned a similar plan after it did not get enough support in the legislature.
Critics of Newsom’s plan were quick to point out California can tap into its budget surplus to pay for the necessary water supplies rather than introduce another tax on California residents.