17-Cent Gas Tax Hike on the Horizon

gas prices 2The Democratic member who has led the push in the Assembly for a gas tax hike to pay for transportation improvements is teaming with the Democratic senator who has played the same role in his chamber. And the pair want to be far bolder that Gov. Jerry Brown was in his 2015 proposal.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, and Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, propose a 17 cent per gallon tax increase to fund a $7.4 billion transportation program, with likely additional annual hikes after adoption because the rate is indexed to inflation. They also want to increase the tax on diesel fuels by 30 cents a gallon, with the same indexing provision, and to make it easier to get approvals for transportation infrastructure improvements.

Brown’s proposal — which went nowhere in a special session — was built on a 6 cent per gallon tax increase and other provisions that would have funded a $3.6 billion transportation plan.

Bitterness over 2010 gas tax swap hangs over debate

The huge problem facing any proposal to raise taxes of this sort is the need for two-thirds approval, which means Republican votes in both the Assembly and Senate are necessary. And Democrats lobbying for GOP support don’t just have to overcome traditional Republican opposition to higher taxes. There continues to be deep bitterness over the gas tax swap that GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers pulled off in 2010 to plug a $1.8 billion hole in the 2010-11 budget. Republicans aware of this history would struggle to believe that the tax hikes that Frazier and Beall seek for road repairs might not at some future date be used to pay for state salaries, pensions or other needs unrelated to potholes and aging bridges.

The background: Irate over previous diversions of gasoline sales taxes from road repairs to other uses, California voters twice this century passed ballot measures — Proposition 42 in 2002 and Proposition 1A in 2006 — that banned such use of gas sales tax revenue.

But gasoline excise taxes can be spent on general fund obligations. So in 2010, gas excise taxes were sharply raised and gas sales taxes sharply reduced. Because the move was revenue-neutral, Schwarzenegger and Democrats successfully argued that the maneuver only needed to pass on a simple majority vote — not the two-thirds vote needed for tax hikes.

As a result, each year, the state Board of Equalization announces whether it is raising or cutting state excise taxes on gasoline to honor the deal’s requirement that the 2010 gas tax swap be roughly revenue-neutral.

Recent coverage of the Frazier-Beall initiative has not detailed whether the 17 cent per gallon tax hike would be entirely in the gas sales tax or entirely in the gas excise tax or a combination of increases in each.  If it were in the gas sales tax, that would nominally mean the money could only be spent on road repairs and infrastructure improvement because of Propositions 42 and 1A. But another gas tax swap could enable the money to be diverted to the general fund by a simple majority of the Legislature in the future, at least if the governor was amenable.

Republican lawmakers are also likely to be wary of another part of the Democratic lawmakers’ proposal: a $165 yearly fee for owners of zero-emission vehicles to help pay for road improvements. While that’s higher than what most states with such fees charge, it’s only half of what the average U.S. car owner pays in gas taxes a year, according to data from 2013.

The argument that zero-emission vehicles should pay more toward road maintenance is dismissed by greens who cite the environmental benefits of the vehicles. But as such vehicles become more common — and as states push gas taxes higher — owners of regular vehicles and free-market advocates are likely to cry foul.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Comments

  1. We already pay 34 cents a gallon. Why in the hell do these assholes need more?

    • They always will take more, that’s the liberal government you allowed to take over Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now san diego.

  2. retiredxlr8r says

    Before a tax hike, they ought to gather a civilian panel, similar to our Civil Grand Jury’s, to investigate and audit Caltrans for its cost economy and organization efficiency. I’m tired of government agencies becoming blotted with management and their continued cost overruns. And inside audits don’t work. They need to answer to the people.

  3. The democrat answer to everything. Higher taxes. They’ve always got their hands in your pockets. Of course, if you don’t pay taxes, it seems like a pretty good deal.

  4. No more Brown Choo Choo we need that money to go to infrastructure not into the pockets of his cronies and money hungry union dogs construction companies are notorious for bribes ,kick backs, payoffs and Brown knows it as well as the liberal Dems.

  5. Demo creeps are ALWAYS behind all tax increases! They are the original tax and spend SOBs! Lying, cheating, and stealing are their stock in trade! As we here in la la land continue to swirl around the cesspool drain of insolvency and not one person is aware of it nor do they care! Hang tight folks bankruptcy is right around the corner, and NOBODY is gonna ride to our rescue either!!

  6. I’m strongly in favor of a total recall of Idiot Brown, his “back-room” cronies and all the democraps that are in favor of these strong-arm tax increases. The Ca tax on gas was originally created to pay for infrastructure improvements, primarily of our roads. Naturally, that changed when the democraps took power and found other, boondoggle uses for the money. Keep it up democraps and politaxions: the second revolution may be coming soon!

  7. Recall all of these nutjobs

  8. Interesting I posted yesterday but I can’t find my post. What is the 17 cents for so Cal Trans workers can retire at 45 instead of 55 as they can today. Plus a high retirement and benefits that we the taxpayers must cough up. retiredxlr8r has a great idea. All the bloat and waste have to go along with the choo choo to no where and the water tunnel boondoggle. You would think CA could print money like the US Govt. Hey Moonbeam we can’t print money. You need to get a clue. But then for a demorat that is out of the question. And I must add most politicians today in both parties.

  9. Gerald Maxwell says

    You folks in California elected the bastards…you gotta live with them!

  10. Just keep voting Democrat. This is repayment for your loyalty.

  11. Randy Townsend says

    Voters have made clear their devotion to “progressive state government”. Every tax measure should be approved. Every increase in expenditures should be passed into law. If the people of CA want this thyme of government (and they do), then start sending those bills to the voters via taxes, bond payments, levys, whatever they want to call it. As long as the people staff Sacramento with this type of politician, those bills need to be laid on the people, because this type of government is expensive and politicians aren’t the ones who have to pay for it.

    • Randy, You just don’t understand. It was a HUGE mistake for the people of California to vote in Jerry Brown. He is by far the most crooked (emphasis on the word crook) politaxion to ever serve. But you have to hand it to him and his Democrapic partners. They know how to work the system. He institutes taxes and, what he calls, “fees” by “executive order”, to continue to milk the proverbial cow. He, and his compatriots know that these illegal taxes and fees will be challenged in court. Problem is, he has raped our courts and justice system by reducing their budgets, knowing full well that any challenged cases will take forever to be heard and acted upon. In the meantime, he has collected tons of the People’s money that he can use for his ridiculous projects, and pays no interest while it’s being used or if it is later restored. How’s that for a people’s politician. So it isn’t that we want this, it’s just too damn expensive to recall the idiots. PS: Have you heard that Jerry Brown now provides driver’s licenses to illegals and allows them to obtain medical care and other benefits? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  12. upChuck Liberals says

    They’re going to be whining that because of their success at increasing mileage of cars and pushing more of those incepid electric cars, of course tax revenue goes down. Wait until more of us leave this state, let’s see what happens then. We need spending control. Let’s start by firing the ‘progressives’ in SackOfTomatoes.

  13. Pat In The West says

    They already get way too much money! They mismanage it, mostly on illegals … I call them out on this. VOTE NO ON EVERY SINGLE TAX INCREASE COMING UP IN NOV. ALWAYS VOTE NO, EVEN IF IT IS FOR SCHOOLS. They get way too much money already!!

  14. I think we pay more than that – what about the cap and trade tax? Never vote for anyone who wants to raise your taxes! People are stupid. Venezuelans are still worshiping Chavez who destroyed their country with socialistic/communistic actions. People have forgotten how enslaving these ideas are and how people lost their lives trying to escape (think Berlin wall) these systems for a better life. Our media, politicians, and unions have been taken over by heartless, godless, treasonous cowards.

  15. California’s going full bore Agenda 21.

  16. If they were doing their jobs diligently, they would have already deducted 17 cents a gallon. Tells me they are ready to give themselves another pay raise on our behalf.

  17. You will never see bigwig politicians riding in anything but luxo-barges (unless media are present). The whole purpose of our American Communists (Demorats) is to control the (reduced) population in high-rise housing, by making cars more expensive, fuels more expensive, water more expensive, regulations to encompass all human activity and, what else, oh yes, import enough taxpayer-money-sucking criminal aliens to swell the Demorat voting ranks and enough Muslim terrorists to keep the population of ‘useful idiots’ clamoring for more security!

  18. Shelly Bolander says

    AUDIT CALTRANS WE DESERVE TO SEE WHERE OUR MONEY IS GOING TO. WASTEFUL SPENDING MUST STOP AND BE SPENT ON WHAT IT’S INTENDED FOR. AUDIT CALTRANS!!

  19. In Florida the roads are beautiful, and we have no state sales tax and most of the year we pay $1.95 a gallon for gas. Oh yeah, forgot, we’re getting one of those train thingies you want so much, for free.

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