Gov. Jerry Brown called off a plan in June to apply a mandatory tax on water bills but is now backing a new pair of bills that would apply a voluntary charge on taxpayers to fund safe drinking projects in California.
The newly proposed senate bills, SB 844 and 845, would also raise taxes on dairies and fertilizer manufacturers.
The bills are expected to generate as much as $100 million per year and cost most homeowners no more than 95 cents per month. Areas with the highest risk would be most prioritized.
Democratic Senator Bill Monning who introduced the two bills said,
“These bills are now the Legislature’s best opportunity to bring clean and safe drinking water to the nearly 1 million Californians who cannot drink the water that comes out of their faucets.”
More than 1 million residents reportedly face potential exposure to unsafe water, largely in low-income communities and lack the proper funding to fix the problems. A 2018 McClatchy investigation also found that 360,000 Californians are served by water systems that violate state standards for nitrates, arsenic, uranium and other pollutants.
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