Politics

They Just Proposed A Drinking Water Tax!

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California Governor Gavin Newsom reportedly wants to charge $10 a month as a tax for drinking water.

As reported by gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to charge California water customers up to $10 per month to help clean up contaminated water in low-income and rural areas, but he will face resistance from some legislative Democrats hesitant to impose new taxes.

The Democratic governor says up to 1 million California residents have some type of contaminated or unclean water coming through their taps that can cause health issues. He has called it “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.”

“The fact that in California, in the fifth-largest economy, we have people who cannot drink their water, people who can’t even bathe in their water, there’s something absolutely wrong,” Democratic Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes said Wednesday during a hearing on Newsom’s plan.

The fee on water customers would affect households and businesses — an idea that lawmakers killed last session. Newsom wants to combine it with fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers to raise about $140 million per year.

A competing proposal by Democratic Sen. Anna Caballero would use money from the state’s multibillion-dollar surplus to create a trust fund to pay for water improvements.

Newsom’s plan could be difficult to pass because tax and fee increases require support from two-thirds of lawmakers.

Democrats hold 75 percent of the legislative seats, but some who represent moderate or agricultural districts may balk at the proposal, particularly after voters recalled a Democratic senator last year after he voted to raise the gas tax. Caballero, for example, represents an agricultural district previously held by a Republican.

There was broad agreement at Wednesday’s hearing that the lack of access to clean water for so many is a stain on the state, but lawmakers acknowledged a political solution has been elusive.

“I would be foolish, based on the history of this issue, to make promises about where we’re going to end up at the end of this cycle,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, chairman of the budget subcommittee. “But I will commit to doing my damnedest to bring this to a conclusion.”

Newsom’s plan starting next year would charge water customers from 95 cents to $10 a month, based on the size of their water meter, with exceptions for people in poverty.

What’s next? Are they going to tax the air that you breathe.
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