California Senate rejects proposed water tax

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SACRAMENTO — The California Senate has rejected a new tax on most residential water bills, opting instead to use existing tax dollars to improve drinking water in some of the state's poorest areas.

State officials say in 2017, more than 450 public water systems did not comply with safety standards, affecting more than half a million people.

This year, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 95-cent tax on most residential water bills. He wants to use the money to improve the drinking water systems.

Senate leaders rejected that proposal on Wednesday. Instead, they endorsed a plan that would use $150 million of existing taxpayer dollars to make the improvements.

The tax proposal is still alive in the state Assembly.

A spokesman for Newsom said the governor supports a permanent and sustained funding source.

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