THIS JUST IN … California drinking water tax dies in budget compromise; Legislature committed to continuing the conversation over the summer

From the Sacramento Bee:

A proposed tax on California’s drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Friday as part of the compromise on the state budget. 

Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act,” which would have taxed residents 95 cents a month to raise millions for cleaning toxic wells. Instead, legislative leaders agreed to spend $5 million from the general fund to deal with lead in drinking water at child care centers.

They also plan to allocate $23.5 million from the general fund for “safe drinking water actions later in this legislative session,” according to a Legislative Budget Conference Committee report released Friday. ... ”

Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California drinking water tax dies in budget compromise

An official from Cal-EPA emailed me to assure me that the legislature has committed to continuing the conversation over the summer, forwarding the email from H.D. Palmer at Department of Finance to Dale Kasler at the Sacramento Bee, text is as follows:

Dale — As folo to your note below:  The Legislature has indicated a commitment to continue discussions this summer.  They recognize that this is a very important issue that will take some more time to work through.

 While the action in today’s agenda is not authorization to spend emergency funding yet for septic tanks and wells,  the budget sets those funds aside to be considered later in the session.   As noted on Page 115 below (highlights/emphasis mine)

             “Set aside $23.5 million General Fund for allocation to safe drinking water actions later in this legislative session.”

(Referencing page 115 of the conference report … http://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/sites/abgt.assembly.ca.gov/files/June%208%20Final%20Close%20Out%20Agenda.pdf)

 

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