Bill Seeks Excise Tax on Foreign Water-Intensive Crops in the U.S.

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Legislation introduced last week seeks an excise tax on the sale and export of water-intensive crops grown in the U.S. by foreign governments. Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego introduced the Water Protection Act of 2022, as Arizona and other states face prolonged drought. Gallego says, “While Arizona experiences the driest conditions in centuries, our water is being given away in a sweetheart deal with Saudi Arabia.” The Democrat adds, “Arizona’s aquifers are meant to serve Arizonans, and this bill will make that happen.” The excise tax would be imposed at 300 percent, reflecting the unjustifiable disparity in land lease rates between domestic and foreign producers in Arizona. Arizona is leasing farmland to Fondomonte, a Saudi company which uses Arizona groundwater to grow alfalfa exported to feed cows in the Middle East. The state reports that the company uses enough water annually to supply 54,000 homes, at an estimated cost to the state of more than $3 million a year.

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