SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate has voted to reject a new tax on most residential water bills.

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had proposed a new tax of about 95 cents per month on residential water bills to improve drinking water systems. Because it’s a tax, it would be harder for lawmakers to divert the money for other purposes.

Many lawmakers balked at Newsom’s proposal because the state is projected to have a record $21.5 billion surplus.

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