With the state legislature returning from summer recess, the proposal to impose a statewide tax on drinking water could return before the end of the current legislative year on August 31.
The proposed tax on drinking water was introduced in 2017 by Sen. Bill Monning (SB 623). The primary purpose of the bill was to fund solutions in some disadvantaged communities without access to safe drinking water, which are primarily located in rural areas in the Central Valley. In September of 2017, the Assembly Appropriations Committee moved the bill to the Assembly Rules Committee, where it currently remains as a two-year bill. The proposal would have generated roughly $110 million per year through a 95-cent monthly fee on home water bills as well as taxes on businesses of up to $10 per month. Another $30 million would come from higher fees on agricultural and dairy businesses, industries whose chemicals contribute to the problem of contaminated groundwater.