Senate Bill 845 – Drinking Water Tax
Formerly known as Senate Bill 623 and then a Budget Trailer Bill
End-Of-Session Update: The effort to impose a “voluntary” water tax on ratepayers died in the Legislature on Friday, August 31, 2018. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said “a piecemeal funding approach” to the problem “won’t work.”
While most Californians have access to safe and reliable drinking water, there are still more than 300 water systems in the state that are non-compliant and fail to deliver water that meets public health standards. A vast majority of these systems are located throughout the Central Valley, and are privately owned and in rural, disadvantaged communities.
While EMWD supports every Californian having access to a clean and reliable water supply, EMWD also believes that a solution should address the root cause of the failing systems before determining any type of funding mechanism. The root cause is often a lack of technical, managerial, and/or financial experience—which Senate Bill 623 (SB 623) and the previously proposed Budget Trailer Bill both failed to address.
SB 623, which was modified into an unsuccessful Budget Trailer Bill, has now been transformed into Senate Bill 845 (SB 845).
SB 845—opposed by more than 200 public water agencies, water associations and business organizations—seeks to collect funds from public water system ratepayers to fund system improvements for non-compliant systems in other parts of the state.
More than 3,000 public water agencies will be forced to collect a “Voluntary Donation” and send your ratepayer dollars to Sacramento.
For EMWD customers, this “Voluntary Donation” will be a line-item of approximately $1 added to your current water bill. Disguised as a “Voluntary Donation,” ratepayers will be required by the State to personally opt-out to avoid paying this water tax.
Contact your legislator to learn more about how SB 845 will affect you!
Are you located outside EMWD’s service area? Find your local legislator to learn more.
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