Twelve Democrat legislators have been targeted by Reform California’s Stop the Water Tax campaign. Two from San Diego, Assemblypersons Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), and Tasha Horvath (D-Encinitas) have been identified as “Water Tax Weaklings,” being most vulnerable in holding their seats the 2020 election cycle.
Stop the Water Tax video
As one of his first acts as governor, Gavin Newsom introduced his “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.” The tax would be collected purportedly to help impoverished communities provide clean water. The proposed tax, Senate Bill 623, would add a fee to every water bill in California, above the actual cost of delivering water to homes, businesses, and farms.
Anti-tax advocates point out that all public water districts, and private water suppliers, already must provide safe drinking water, or be fined or shut down by the State Water Resources Control Board.
Reform California, led by San Diego’s AM600 KOGO’s talk host Carl DeMaio, wrote in a published statement, “California already has some of the highest water rates in the nation! It [the tax] is just another way out-of-touch Sacramento politicians are trying to hose taxpayers,” said DeMaio.
The anti-tax organization will first attempt to convince three Democrat state senators or seven Democrat assembly members to announce their opposition to the Water Tax, thus killing the two-thirds vote required to impose new state taxes.
If unsuccessful, DeMaio stated, “Sacramento politicians are hereby put on notice that if they vote to impose a costly and unfair water tax on California’s already-struggling working families they will face consequences at the ballot box.” The campaign against the twelve legislators will include 30-second ads, Facebook ads, text messaging, phone outreach, and storefront canvassing to reach voters in each of the twelve districts held by the targeted legislators.
All San Diego area municipal water districts, through their California Municipal Utilities Association, along with the San Diego Taxpayers Association, oppose the tax.
If the Water Tax passes, DeMaio says he’ll propose legal action and a possible ballot initiative to reverse the tax. While losing in last November’s ballot initiative to repeal the twelve cent per gallon gas tax (Proposition 6) DeMaio’s organization has been credited as one that help defeat the recently proposed tax on text messaging.