News Alert!!: California: Governor Gavin Newsom proposes drinking water tax for California.

News Alert!!: California: Governor Gavin Newsom proposes drinking water tax for California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that he will introduce a tax California water customers to help fund safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

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.

Gavin Newsom’s plan starting next year would charge water customers from .95 cents up to $10.00 a month, based on the size of their water meter, with exceptions from this fee for people in poverty and low-income communities.

Animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer producers and handlers also would pay a fee because their operations contribute to nitrate in groundwater.

The money raised would help public water systems, including those that serve schools, treat contaminated water, improve long-term maintenance and test the water quality of domestic wells.

Dozens of residents from the Central Valley testified in support of the fee, saying it would be a small price to pay to ensure access to water that wouldn’t make them sick.

The fee on water customers would affect households and businesses — an idea that lawmakers killed last session.

Gavin Newsom’s plan is an attempt to revive an idea that failed to pass the California Legislature back in 2018.

Gavin Newsom has called the water issue “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.”

Gavin 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.

Reportedly, the money raised in the trust fund would help public water systems, including those that serve schools, treat contaminated water, improve long-term maintenance and test the water quality of domestic wells.

California’s state constitution requires a two-thirds super-majority of legislators to impose a new tax.

After the 2018 election, Democrats now hold super-majorities in both chambers of the California Legislature, which could make passing the bill more likely.

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