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CA Senate rejects Newsom’s “water tax” proposal, but it’s far from “dead”

19 May

I don’t know how many people are aware of Gavin Newsom’s proposal to add a 95 cent tax to our monthly water bill. He says the state would use the money to “help communities clean contaminated water systems.” 

Communities? In most towns here, Cal Water owns the water systems. In fact, they’ve just recently raised our rates citing various projects they need to do, most of them necessitated by new subdivisions. Developers have already or should have paid fees. Why is the general ratepayer expected to pick up the tab for the for-profit, publicly traded utility provider? Shouldn’t infrastructure be what you are already paying for? 

I was happy to hear that the California Senate rejected the idea.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article230438084.html

“A Senate budget subcommittee rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water tax plan on Wednesday, instead recommending finding $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund….”

The Senate instead proposed that the money “be found” somewhere in the state’s projected $22 Billion surplus. That’s $22,000,000,000. 

But, it’s not just a one-time $150 million fix, they want to establish a permanent fund, meaning, they will have to find a permanent funding source. They have ways of getting around the voters.  “’It’s been a big stumbling block when it’s called a tax,’ said Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist who worked with water tax backers. ‘That’s the beauty of this. It’ll be in every budget.‘”

Again, why aren’t the water districts, particularly the for-profits, being made to maintain their infrastructure within the boundaries of their ever-increasing rates? They want to raise our rates AND put an additional tax on us. 

The proposal still has to be heard in the Assembly. Contact Assemblyman James Gallagher at james@gallagherforassembly.com or by phone at (530) 420-5066 and tell him to reject this scheme.  Legislatures feel this kind of heat, it really affects their behavior if it’s focused on the seat of their pants.  “A water fee proposal died in budget compromise talks last year as Democrats worried about asking constituents to pay more.”

You may as well contact Senator Jim Nielsen at his Chico office (2635 Forest Avenue), by phone 879 – 7424, or at his Facebook 

https://www.facebook.com/senatorjimnielsen

Tell his staff you’re not happy with the proposal the Senate came up with. Ask them why the district agencies aren’t paying for it. 

And, you might join Reform California’s campaign to pressure legislators to reject this bill. I signed up for their mailing list and received news of this tax proposal in February, and I believe their actions were successful in getting the Senate to reject the original tax proposal.

12 Democrat Legislators Named Targets of Campaign to Defeat the Water Tax

Reform California is working on a number issues to “make California more affordable”.  Check out their website at 

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Janus vs AFSCME: Reform California to hold workshop for public employees who want their union dues back

26 Dec

Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled on a case brought about by a public employee who didn’t want to be a union member or pay union “fees“. In Janus vs the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the court ruled, “Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concerns. That includes compelling individuals to subsidize the speech of other private speakers.”

In fact, non-members who have paid “fees” are eligible for rebates of at least some of their money – as much as 78% of member dues, for the privilege of having a job. According to Reform California, ” many of our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family are eligible for an average rebate of $800 this year alone!”

The law supposedly restricted these “fees” from being used for political purposes, but given our own city clerk’s abysmal record of holding these PACs up to the rules, I’ll guess there’s never been any audit of how they are really collected or spent. Not in Chico, or Butte County, that’s for sure. 

Reform California and the California Policy Center are hosting a workshop to help non-union employees who have been ripped off for these “fees” to get their rebates. Get more information about that here:

https://reformcalifornia.org/event/briefing-helping-friends-get-their-union-dues-refunds/

 

Read more about the Supreme Court decision here:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1466_2b3j.pdf