Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Some bottled water in California may be more expensive if backers of a proposed initiative have their way.

What author Louis J. Marinelli has dubbed the “Groundwater Preservation and Water Consumer Awareness Act of 2015” would impose a five-cent tax on each ounce of bottled water containing any surface, underground, or municipal water collected in California.

Supporters have until Dec. 21 to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

The tax revenues generated would fund construction and maintenance of water infrastructure projects including dams, levies, water treatment facilities, and desalination plants.

The initiative would require each container of bottled California water sold in California to bear a statement and specific logo on its label identifying the product as “not drought friendly.”

If the initiative is approved by voters and is able to be implemented, there would be an uncertain, but likely small, net change in state revenues, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who on Wednesday gave backers permission to begin gathering signatures.

Marinelli told City News Service he authored this initiative “because I was concerned with what I consider to be one of the worst uses of bottled water in a country where access to potable drinking water is widespread.”

“There are few differences between the quality of tap water and the quality of bottled water except for taste,” Marinelli said. “Minerals are added to bottled water for taste and it says on the label.”

Marinelli said he exempted out-of-state water from the tax to “encourage Californians to purchase bottled water that comes from other states’ water supply.”

Marinelli is also the proponent of initiatives that would create an advisory group to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States; require the display of the California flag above the U.S. flag, change the governor’s title to president of California; ban out-of-state contributions to California election campaigns; and authorize the state to issue residence permits to immigrants without legal permission to live in the country.

—City News Service

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