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 MAY 19, 2006 California Farm Bureau Friday Review

The Governor’s 2006-2007 Proposed Water Fee Increases: The Governor and legislature have recently
touted significant unexpected tax revenue increases, resulting in state coffers enjoying $5 billion in
unanticipated funds. In California’s budget politics, even $5 billion apparently only goes so far, and
despite these revenue windfalls, the Governor’s administration is persisting in trying to increase the cost
of government for family farmers and ranchers through increases in various water related ‘fees.’ Whether
a payment is labeled a fee or a tax, it is still an increased cost of doing business, and also an increase in
the cost of government to farmers and ranchers in California who already pay taxes like every other
business. With this in view, the Administration’s boasting of a proposed budget with no new taxes rings
unfortunately hollow.

The total amount of money sought by the State of California through these fees is quite small in the scope
of its overall budget, and with the State’s current excess revenue, there is no reason to pass on these costs
to family farmers and ranchers while there is no additional benefit or service. For those who actually
have to pay them, these increases are quite significant and in many cases exceed what would have been
paid under the infamous attempted car tax increase of 2003. California Farm Bureau is opposed to the
Governor’s proposal to increase the following water taxes and fees:

Department of Water Resources increase in watermaster fees of $1.4 million dollars, an increase
of 87.5% over the present year. DWR has proposed dramatic increases in fees for this program
without any accountability for program costs or improvements in services. The increases reflect
overhead costs of the DWR and Resources Agency and costs incurred by DWR because of its
collective bargaining agreements and its program management decisions; these increases are not
because of the actual cost of delivering the service to water rights holders, who already pay the
actual cost of the program.

State Water Resources Control Board increase in fees for Irrigated Lands Programs in Central
Valley, Central Coast, and Los Angeles Regions. Total amount of increase would be $1.635
million across all three regions, which would be a 260% increase (from $.12 to $.31 per acre).
This increase will affect family farmers and ranchers in Central Valley counties as well as in the
Coastal Counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa
Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles. These increases would come on top of the millions of dollars
in cutting edge water quality monitoring being funded directly by farmers in all of these counties.
State Water Resources Control Board increases in Water Right fees, totaling $3.6 million
statewide. These increases would fund a new computer system which the Legislative Auditor has
recommended not be funded until the Water Board improves its water rights information
processes, and make existing water right holders pay for processing of new water rights by other

Farm Bureau and a broad coalition of business and taxpayer groups is opposing yet another bill by Native
Americans to increase their authority over local land use. AB 2641 (Joe Coto, D-San Jose) would require
a landowner to consult with the most likely descendents (MLD), as determined by the Native American
Heritage Commission (NAHC), regarding the preservation of any broadly defined “Native American
burial ground” that might be discovered on the property owner's land. It would also require the landowner
to ensure that a site is not further disturbed until prescribed conditions are met. The bill also fails to
impose a timeline on the NAHC to render a decision and the gathering of evidence and information to
support the contention would largely be in the hands of the tribes who would have no incentive to move
the process forward. This bill, although well intended, will be detrimental to the state’s economy and will
substantially increase taxpayer costs for future infrastructure projects by delaying and potentially halting
the delivery of needed projects throughout California. Even though the California Health and Safety Code
does not recognize Native American burial grounds as cemeteries, the NAHC is currently authorized to
designate a MLD for the treatment and disposition of Native American human remains and associated
grave goods.

Another bill to stall the High-Speed Rail Bond is moving again. The Senate Transportation and Housing
Committee on a vote of 11-1 approved AB 713 (Alberto Torrico, D-Newark) that would remove the $9.95
billion high-speed passenger rail bond from the November ballot. With the November ballot already
chock-full of $40 billion in bond proposals, many feel that it best to derail the vote on the bullet train until
November 2008. This would be the second postponement for of the high speed rail proposal that was
originally scheduled for the November 2004 ballot.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Linda S. Adams as Secretary of
the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Adams, 57, of Sacramento, has served on the
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board since 2005. Prior to joining the board, she served
as Chief of Staff for the State Controller's Office from 2004 to 2005. In 2004, Adams served with the
California Performance Review and from 2003 to 2004 was Director of the Department of Water
Resources. She was Legislative Secretary in 2003 for the Office of the Governor and Chief Deputy
Legislative Secretary from 1999 to 2003. Adams previously served as a senior consultant for a number of
Legislative Committees from 1979 to 1995, including the Senate Agriculture and Water Resources
Committee, Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and Assembly Local Government
Committee. She has received several awards and recognitions for her work and was awarded the
"Environmental Hero Award" by the California League of Conservation Voters in 2002 for negotiating
the first law to combat global warming in the nation. Adams also serves on the Board of Directors for the
Sacramento Local Conservation Corps. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation
is $131,412. Adams is a Democrat.




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