Water Authority Opposes Proposed Statewide Tax on Water
An eleventh-hour effort has emerged in the Legislature to impose -- for the first time -- a new statewide tax on residential and business water bills. As lawmakers returned to Sacramento for the final four weeks of this year's session, the tax was inserted into Senate Bill 623 (Monning), a bill that aims to improve access to safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities.
This bill could have a significant impact on water users in San Diego County and across California. While the Water Authority supports access to safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities, there are better ways to achieve that goal than creating a first-ever "water tax" on residents and businesses. Adding a tax on water actually works against affordability. Taxing Californians for something so essential is not right -- and doing so will increase the likelihood of additional water taxes in coming years.
The Water Authority has taken an "oppose unless amended" position on this bill, as have the California Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vista Chamber of Commerce, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, and East County Economic Development Council. There is a better solution that uses other existing state funding sources without creating a tax on water.
"Make no mistake: This is a tax, and taxing Californians for something as essential as water does not make sense," said Muir. "It will increase the cost of water, making it less affordable. It also will put upward pressure on food prices. Call it a lose-lose for low-income residents -- and everyone else."