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Rain Water Capture System Incentive Advances to Statewide Ballot

February 1, 2018
Both the Senate and Assembly on Monday, Jan. 29, by nearly unanimous votes, passed a constitutional amendment to incentivize the building of rainwater capture systems on new construction.
League-supported SCA 9 by Sen. Steve Glazier (D-Orinda) places a measure on an upcoming statewide ballot to provide a property tax exclusion for the construction or addition of a rainwater capture system. By signing its companion measure, SB 558 (Glazer), Gov. Jerry Brown ensured SCA 9 will appear on the June 2018 ballot. It will be Proposition 72. 
Although Governor Brown officially declared the drought over last year, the state continues to promote water conservation and efficiency. Other countries facing such conditions have also been more aggressive in incorporating rainwater capture into their water use and conservation strategies. SCA 9, if approved by voters, would expand the use of such systems and will help insulate California against future droughts.
Offering a property tax exclusion for new construction provides an incentive for a property owner to add a specific feature, in this case, a rainwater capture system. Voters have authorized several similar exemptions in the past to advance various desirable policies including exemptions for seismic safety, fire sprinklers, solar energy and disabled access. The League has a history of supporting such measures, specifically the solar exemption in 2008 (AB 1451, Leno, 2008).
After careful consideration in League policy committees, the League opted to support SCA 9 because it will advance water conservation policies supported by the League. After weighing the fiscal impacts, the League deemed the initial fiscal impacts acceptable given that a property tax exclusion from new construction only applies to the initial construction. Real property values tend to appreciate over time and the full value of the property are to be assessed upon resale. In addition, increases in sales and use taxes from purchasing materials and equipment will also offset any property tax loses.

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