California has a new governor and he's even wackier than the last nutjob.
Gavin Newsom has a hot new idea to rapidly expand the size of government in his state. The Governor’s first budget proposal proposes the state launcehs a new tax on drinking water. He wants to use the extra revenue to clean up California’s water systems.
The “Environmental Protection” section of the new proposed budget plans to:
establish a new special fund, with a dedicated funding source from new water, fertilizer, and dairy fees, to enable the State Water Resources Control Board to assist communities, particularly disadvantaged communities, in paying for the short-term and long-term costs of obtaining access to safe and affordable drinking water.
This is an absolutely bonkers idea.It's absolutely 100% accurate to say California's got some dirty drinking water. Just ask anyone living in Compton, Fresno or Oakland. Brown drinking water exists.
But California’s knee-jerk reaction to launch a new tax anytime there’s a problem has never served them well in the past. This is a state with some of the highest taxes in the country and somehow they still think more taxes will benefit them.
In recent years they've lost thousands of businesses, mostly to Texas, in an effort to escape high taxes and overbearing business regulations.
California's taxes are so high that, even with legal access to marijuana, people are still purchasing cannabis off the black market to avoid the state's draconian tax laws.
But does their history of overtaxing and too-much-regulation actually solve problems?
Not at all. They've been hiking up the tax rate for years to pay for absurd political pet projects and somehow they're still drowning in debt while they drink brown tap water out of their faucets.
In the meantime, California has already set aside money for clean drinking water. What the heck happened to those funds?!
The California Association of Water Agencies, a coalition of public water agencies throughout the state, has expressed opposition to the proposed tax, arguing that in light of the current surplus, a trust should be established to fund water clean-up efforts. "The state should not tax something that is essential to life, such as water and food," they said in a press release, adding that the costs of living in California are already too high and that another tax would make water less affordable.
Further, significant funding has already been allocated to help clean up water in disadvantaged communities, which experience disproportionate levels of polluted drinking water. For example, Assembly Bill 1471, passed in 2014, authorized $260 million “for grants and loans for public water system infrastructure improvements and related actions to meet safe drinking water standards, ensure affordable drinking water, or both.”
In 2015, as part of the emergency drought funding, then-Governor Jerry Brown approved an additional $19 million in funding was allocated “to meet interim emergency drinking water needs for disadvantaged communities with a contaminated water supply or suffering from drought-related water outages or threatened emergencies,” according to the state water board.
In June of last year, voters approved Proposition 68, which authorized $250 million for clean drinking water projects, as well as drought preparedness measures.
Further, in December, the EPA awarded California $187 billion in federal funds “for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.”
If history repeats itself, and it always does, a new tax on California drinking water isn't going to clean up your water supply. It's just going to empty out your bank account.
Look, geographically speaking California is a beautiful place, but their tax system is anything but.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 1: California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, addresses more than 30 of the world's top wine experts gathered at the California Wine Summit on October 1, 2013, in San Francisco, California. Hosted by the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, these 30 influential wine buyers and critics are instrumental in the growing multi-billion dollar global wine business. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)