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Sacramento is at it again: The new water tax con job


You have to hand it to Sacramento; they are very creative in figuring out how to take more of your money.
You may or may not have heard about the proposed “Water Tax.” It is intended to place a monthly tax on your water bill, from $1.00 to $10.00, depending on your meter size or having multiple meters. The money will be sent to Sacramento and then used to make water system improvements to communities elsewhere in the state. However, this is a tax and will require a 2/3’s vote of the State Assembly and the Senate. At this time, the votes are not there as the politicians are a little leery of imposing a new tax; especially given the success of the recent effort to repeal the new Gas Tax, which will be Proposition 6 on the November 2018 Ballot.
Not to be deterred from the main goal of fleecing you, there is a new proposal afloat in the Capitol City which, if passed, would require retail water agencies like Rincon del Diablo MWD and Valley Center MWD to place a mandatory “Voluntary Donation” on your monthly water bill, rather than a Water Tax. Very slick!
As proposed, the “Voluntary Donation” will show up on your monthly water bill along with the normal charges, unless you take action to “Opt Out.” This will require agencies to reconfigure their bills and modify their billing system, change financial processing software/systems, administrative procedures, and customer service to accomplish this effort and then process and track customers wishing to “Opt out.” This will necessarily translate into higher costs being passed on to ratepayers at a time when water affordability is already a critical issue in our state.
Beyond the added costs and logistics, in our view, the Governor, his staff along with some legislators, are using a disingenuous technique to pass what is essentially a tax under the guise of “Voluntary Donation.” Requiring retail water users to take action to “Opt Out” makes this nothing more than a mandatory tax in disguise! Further, this requirement is intended to be included in what is known as a Budget Trailer Bill, which will be adopted at the last minute without the normal legislative vetting process.
If the Governor and state legislature wants to impose a new tax, then they should have the courage and votes to do so. If they don’t have what is needed for passage, then it’s probably not a good idea in the first place. Imposing the collection of “Voluntary Donation” will focus the brunt of angry customers on local water agencies while the Governor and others hide safely in Sacramento, smug and happy. Governor, how’s the Gas Tax thing working for you?
If you think there is something wrong about this ploy to impose a tax and not call it a tax, then let the Governor know how you feel:
Governor Edmund “Jerry” G. Brown, Jr.
State Capitol Building, 1st Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-558-3160
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Greg Thomas is general manager of the Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District. Gary Arant is general manager of the Valley Center Municipal Water District.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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