BY TARYN LUNA, The Sacramento Bee
Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are rebooting an effort to pass a new tax to attack unsafe drinking water in California.
But there’s a twist: The proposed tax on water bills would be voluntary, increasing its chances of success among skittish lawmakers in an election year.
After calling off a plan in June to apply a mandatory tax on water bills, the governor is backing a new pair of bills that would apply a voluntary levy on ratepayers to fund safe drinking water projects. Senate Bill 844 and 845, introduced by Sen. Bill Monning, would also raise taxes on dairies and fertilizer manufacturers.
Supporters expect the bills to generate as much as $100 million per year and cost most homeowners no more 95 cents per month, money that would be prioritized to areas with the highest risk.