Among the hundreds of bills the state Legislature did not pass was Senate Bill 845. This proposal would allow water customers throughout the state to voluntarily give or “tax” themselves to provide a source of funds for assisting disadvantaged communities to install projects to ensure safe drinking water for their customers.
The amount would have been about 95 cents per bill, but individuals could decline to pay the “voluntary tax.” However, water districts would have had to modify their accounting and collection software to receive and send the funds to the state.
The Association of California Water Agencies strongly opposed the bill in an Aug. 21, statement.
The original water tax bill was dropped in June during fiscal year 2018-19 budget negations. The legislative budget conference committee rejected the statewide water tax. Instead, the committee provided $23.5 million for safe drinking water.
Also in June, California voters approved Proposition 68 with $250 million for safe drinking water and disadvantaged communities have the highest priority for these funds. And in November, California voters will be able to support Proposition 3 with another $500 million allocated for safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities.
When the current legislative session ended at midnight Aug. 31, neither a statewide water tax nor “voluntary tax” had been approved.