The Valley Industry & Commerce Association praised the defeat of SB 845, a bill in Sacramento that would have created a new statewide opt-out fund for safe drinking water programs.

Under the proposed law, state water agencies would include a “voluntary remittance” or donation on water bills. Customers could deduct the remittance from their bill. Monies collected from the program would go to a state fund used for maintenance and expansion of water agencies and projects.

VICA maintained the bill amounted to a tax on water.

“This bill would have taken advantage of ratepayers and destroyed the transparency and openness between water agencies and their customers while also making water more expensive statewide,” Stuart Waldman, VICA president, said in a statement. “Local water agencies and districts shouldn’t be forced to comply and operate under a system they’re not equipped for. Everyone wants safe drinking water, but this approach would have proved counterproductive and would have resulted in more challenges than benefits.”

VICA is a business organization in Van Nuys dedicated to enhancing “the economic vitality of the greater San Fernando Valley region by advocating for a better business climate and quality of life.”