California can guarantee clean water without tax increases

The final merchandise California desires is one different tax. But that’s what Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed    – a regressive water tax which will hit financially challenged Californians hardest.

He needs to find out a model new revenue stream starting at $140 million per yr to fund clean water in poor areas. Ratepayers may very well be burdened with one different 95 cents to $10 a month –$120 a yr – along with “fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers,” primarily based on the San Francisco Chronicle. So meals prices moreover would soar for all – along with the poor the tax is supposed to help.

The tax moreover would drive the state’s native water corporations to design and implement new billing packages, passing that worth alongside to ratepayers.

Yet California’s taxpayers have been working so arduous they’ve showered the state with a $22 billion surplus. Spending a fraction of which may keep the clean water draw back.

The governor’s proposal is just one hump on the once more of the tax camel sticking its nostril beneath the tent:

AB 217 is by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella.  It would impose a tax on producers of fertilizer, milk and meat along with water. The worth may very well be handed alongside to everyone who purchases meals, along with the poor and even pet owners.

SB 200 is by state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel. At present, this bill seems to rely completely on the governor’s water tax for funding.

SB 522 is by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys. It would “enact a services tax,” nonetheless “allow businesses to deduct from their federal taxes the state sales and use tax imposed on the services they use.” Then supposedly “most businesses would still pay lower taxes than before the federal tax law change.” The intent is to get spherical “the new federal income tax laws” that prevented state and native tax deductions above $10,000.

The similar dodge remaining yr was SB 539, by then-state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. It allowed wealthy Californians to designate just a few of their state income tax as a charitable deduction to Cal Grant scholarships. The IRS issued a “Notice of proposed rulemaking” on Aug. 27, 2018, rejecting the proposed tax secession. The Gov. Brown vetoed the bill.

It’s unlikely Hertzberg’s SB 522 ploy would obtain IRS approval, which means it might arrange a model new tax for suppliers without the benefit of IRS deductions.

Water districts current a service and are not-for-profit.   Does passage of SB 522 suggest those who use our service can pay a tax on that service?  Who ought to purchase that tax?  Who nonetheless the water district – one different means of constructing the water tax!

Better choices to supply entry to safe, clean, moderately priced water have been proposed by water consultants all through the state:

SB 669 is by state Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas. It would create the Safe Drinking Water Trust Fund. Money may very well be poured in from federal sources, voluntary contributions, objects, grants, bequests and water bonds, starting with the Legislature transferring just a few of the $22 billion regular fund surplus and presumably the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The money may very well be immediately on the market to finance safe water in poor areas. Caballero outlined it may very well be “a sustainable funding source to assist these struggling public water systems.”

SB 414 can also be by Caballero. It would create the Small System Water Authority Act. That would advance “the creation of small system water authorities that will have powers to absorb, improve, and competently operate noncompliant public water systems.”

Consolidating small non-compliant packages would create economies of scale. So the consolidated packages would supply safe water and turn into self-reliant, eliminating the need for numerous subsidies.ACA 3 is by Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, is co-sponsored by quite a few Republicans and Democrats. It would dedicate not decrease than 2 % of general-fund reserves to water infrastructure.

I’m moreover heartened by our native Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, who wrote in an op-ed, “Yes, we need clean water. But it must remain tax-free. Taxing water, food and other essential needs would limit their affordability and betray our collective resolve that no one should be denied the essentials for health, sanitation and freedom from hunger and thirst.”

The various is between an expensive, mistaken resolution to acquire that through elevated taxes – and a wise means, without far more taxes, to take motion through the value vary and regulatory reforms sketched above. I urge all Californians to assist the latter.

A. Brooke Jones is President of the Yorba Linda Water District.

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