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BY: Susan Crabtree
California Republicans are gearing up to target several vulnerable Democratic state legislators in an effort to block Democratic governor Gavin Newsom's proposed new tax on drinking water.
Budget - Blueprint - Weeks - Tenure - Governor
In his budget blueprint released two weeks into his tenure as governor, Newsom said he planned to create a "safe and affordable drinking water fund," to help poor communities clean up contaminated water systems.
Supporters say the new tax would only cost each residential water customer 95 cents per month in an effort to raise $110 million a year for the fund.
Opponents - Improvements - Water - Systems - Communities
Opponents counter that improvements for water systems in specific communities around the state shouldn't require a new tax, especially when the state already has a $14.8 million budget surplus and has the highest state tax burden in the country.
Even though California Democrats won big at the polls in November, passing a new water tax is not a slam dunk in the legislature because state law requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to impose a new tax law, and recent efforts to levy new taxes across the state for water initiatives have failed.
Former - Governor - Jerry - Brown - Water
Former governor Jerry Brown tried to push the water tax through the legislature last year, but the effort sparked protests from segments of the agricultural community and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).
The ACWA represents more than 400 water districts. Brown tried to turn the program into a voluntary tax, but that effort also failed.
Democrats - Super-majority - Legislature - Wins - November
Democrats regained the super-majority in the legislature by stacking up big wins in November, making it easier to pass new taxes. Still, in that same election, California voters rejected an $8.9 billion proposed water bond expected to generate a $500 million fund for clean drinking water.
California Republicans and conservative activists are girding to battle a number of new tax hikes with Newsom at the helm and...
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