California can guarantee clean water without tax increases

The ultimate factor California needs is one different tax. But that’s what Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed    – a regressive water tax that will hit financially challenged Californians hardest.

He wants to determine a model new revenue stream starting at $140 million per 12 months to fund clean water in poor areas. Ratepayers can be burdened with one different 95 cents to $10 a month –$120 a 12 months – along with “fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers,” primarily based on the San Francisco Chronicle. So meals prices moreover would bounce for all – along with the poor the tax is supposed to help.

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

Yet California’s taxpayers have been working so laborious they’ve showered the state with a $22 billion surplus. Spending a fraction of that may look after the clean water downside.

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 value can be handed alongside to everyone who purchases meals, along with the poor and even pet householders.

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.

An analogous dodge ultimate 12 months 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 purchase IRS approval, meaning it may arrange a model new tax for firms 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 pays a tax on that service?  Who ought to accumulate that tax?  Who nonetheless the water district – one different method of constructing the water tax!

Better choices to produce entry to protected, 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 can be poured in from federal sources, voluntary contributions, gadgets, grants, bequests and water bonds, starting with the Legislature transferring quite a lot of the $22 billion frequent fund surplus and presumably the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The money can be immediately accessible to finance protected water in poor areas. Caballero outlined it might 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 provide protected 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 lot of Republicans and Democrats. It would dedicate not decrease than 2 p.c 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 pricey, mistaken method to acquire that by means of bigger taxes – and a smart method, without far more taxes, to take motion by means of the worth vary and regulatory reforms sketched above. I urge all Californians to help the latter.

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

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