Principle 3 of ACWA’s comments on Financing the Delta Plan is to broaden the base, and see if we can’t get some of the other infrastructure users to shell out a little.
So, rather than placing much of the burden for financing theplan on water users, the Delta Plan should show how a sustainable Delta benefits users of highways, railways, energy transmission facilities, agriculture and other economic sectors, and how these value centers should play an appropriate part in the overall finance plan.
Sure, I suppose, although I can’t imagine ACWA would be pleased if all those other infrastructure needs started looking for ways to poach from water funds.
Principle 4 makes the case that as much of the Delta Plan as possible should be paid for out of the general fund, unless you can really pin down a narrow beneficiary getting a specific benefit.
Fundamental to the definition of “beneficiaries” is the concept that the public as a whole is a beneficiary of many values that will be provided by the Delta Plan. It is clear that substantial state general funds and program funds, as well as a variety of federal funding sources must be brought to the table to finance these public benefits.
Fine. This is even true. But it is a very silly distinction. The following three terms all refer to the same 39 million Californians: 1. water users, 2. taxpayers, 3. beneficiaries of a restored Delta. I don’t see how a water user fee on every household in California, which ACWA adamantly opposes, is different from a tax that would feed into the general fund, which is what “beneficiaries” should pay? I don’t understand the fetish for very carefully parting those out and assigning costs by fine gradations of value received. It is worth having conversations about which is the cheapest to administer, and which is most vulnerable to plunder if the prison system needs more money, and what message the different fees send. Those are interesting conversations. Parsing gradations of benefits and allocating costs accordingly sounds horrible.
Principle 5. Dude. I don’t know anyone who thinks the bond will pass.