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Drinking water, tampons and diapers: New Calif legislation would put them all in same taxable category

California has long considered it regressive to tax items that are considered essential to life such as food, shelter, power, water and prescription drugs.


Last year Golden State lawmakers ran into that buzzsaw when they took heat for labeling tampons as non-essential and it’s now on course to add drinking water to the list of items that should be taxed.


The pending bill, SB-623, which is expected to raise $2 billion, seems determined to address its regressive nature by promoting the tax as a “fee” and structuring it like a stealth property tax so that it falls primarily on homeowners, commercial property owners, and landlords.


Anyone who has their name on a water meter (including some renters) will be picking up approximately 70% of the tax bill. The remaining 30% will be collected from fertilizer sales and dairies.


Also In This Article:

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  • B-623 legislation as currently drafted
  • Legislative Analyst report on B-623

Also in this premium issue:

  • Specific uses of revenues raise remain vague

  • State Water Resources Control Board to administer funds

  • Bill author says tax needed because state general fund is unreliable

  •  Inarguably a noble cause

  • The tax highlights: who pays what

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