The Valley of the Moon Water District is committed to providing affordable, safe and reliable water to our customers. We also vigorously support safe drinking water for all Californians. When a community is struggling with tainted water, state and federal resources should be available. But a new state tax on water, being proposed by the Brown administration, is an inappropriate way to address this problem.
The proposal is to impose a fee on residential water users to raise money for upgrades and maintenance required to deliver clean drinking water in disadvantaged communities. The fee would be $0.95 a month for most households and more for larger customers, including some businesses. A bill to impose the fees stalled in the Assembly last year, but the proposal has been revived in a trailer bill to the state budget for 2018-19.
Many people in California struggle to make ends meet. Adding a water tax will only drive the cost of living higher.
Californians are against taxing life essentials, including water and some types of food.
No other state taxes drinking water. If passed, this tax will set a precedent, allowing the state to impose additional water taxes in the future.
By attaching this tax to a budget trailer bill, the administration is attempting to avoid an open legislative process.
The Valley of the Moon Water District is dedicated to keeping costs as low as possible for our customers. We do not want to be forced to become a tax collector for the state.
There is a better approach. A combination of federal safe drinking water funds, voter-approved general obligation bonds, proposed assessments relating to nitrates in groundwater and state general funds would ensure that safe drinking water is available to all Californians, without burdening people with additional taxes.
The Valley of the Moon Water district and the Association of California Water Agencies support two water bond proposals scheduled to be on the ballot this year. If you believe that taxing water is wrong, then please join us in opposition, and let your state legislators know. You can find them at assembly.ca.gov or senate.ca.gov.
Jon L. Foreman is president of the board of directors of the Valley of the Moon Water District. He lives in Sonoma.