Business Not United on Gas Tax Repeal

Gas-Pump-blue-generic+flippedWhile business organizations are largely opposed to Proposition 6, the gas tax repeal measure, opposition to the measure from business is not universal.

Yesterday, the influential California Business Roundtable announced its positions on November’s ballot and Proposition 6 was absent. The California Business Roundtable took a neutral position on SB 1, the gas tax increase bill, so the CBRT board decided not to take a position on Prop 6.

Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business/California has been pushing for the gas tax repeal to pass since July.

The California Chamber of Commerce announced its opposition to the gas tax repeal months ago. CalChamber remains a leader in opposition to the tax repeal measure and it is not alone. The No on 6 website lists more than 50 business related organizations in the opposition coalition including the Bay Area Council, the California Small Business Association and VICA, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association.

Proposition 6 would require that all legislatively passed taxes on fuels and vehicles only become effective after a statewide vote of the people. The measure is written so that the taxes passed by SB 1 would be null and void since they did not get a public vote.

CalChamber’s board opposed the repeal citing the Legislative Analyst’s estimates that $5 billion in annual revenue for state and local transportation projects would disappear. The Chamber argued that repealing the gas tax would:

  • Stop transportation improvement projects already underway in every community in California. This measure would eliminate funds already flowing to every city and county to fix potholes, make safety improvements, ease traffic congestion, upgrade bridges, and improve public transportation. 4,000 local transportation improvement projects are already underway across the state thanks to SB 1.
  • Make traffic congestion worse. California’s freeways and major thoroughfares are among the most congested in the nation, and Californians spend too much time stuck in traffic away from family and work. This measure would stop projects that will reduce traffic congestion.
  • Cost drivers and taxpayers more money in the long run. The average driver spends $739 per year on front end alignments, body damage, shocks, tires and other repairs because of bad roads and bridges. Fixing a road costs eight times more than maintaining it. By delaying or stopping projects, this measure ultimately will increase costs for motorists.
  • Hurt job creation and the state’s economy. Reliable transportation infrastructure is critical to get Californians to work, move goods and services to the market, and support the economy. This measure would eliminate more than 680,000 good-paying jobs and nearly $183 billion in economic growth that will be created fixing California roads over the next decade.

NFIB California State Director John Kabateck sees things differently. “California small businesses and working families are being crushed in this state with rising costs in every aspect of running their business, which is why NFIB was the leading statewide business association opposed to Senate Bill 1 last year, and why we fully support Proposition 6 to repeal these regressive gas and car tax increases on hardworking Californians. Business owners deeply understand the need for a vibrant transportation infrastructure, and they also know Sacramento has mismanaged existing transportation tax revenues for decades which has resulted in abysmal roads across California. However, with a $200+ billion state budget with a $9 billion surplus, clearly higher taxes are not needed—better management of our tax dollars is the answer, and Proposition 6 forces the legislature to be accountable with existing transportation tax dollars.”

While business associations are not all lined up on the same side, as with most things political, money can make a difference. Estimates are the No on 6 campaign could put $40 million or more into defeating Prop 6. The yes side will only have a couple of million at best and is unlikely to buy any statewide television ads to convince voters. The Yes on 6 campaign is counting on voters affected adversely in the pocketbook by the tax increase to ignore opposition ads and vote for the repeal.

While business is not uniform in its Prop 6 position, business dollars could play a decisive role in the outcome.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily. 

Comments

  1. Tired of taxes says

    EVERY ONE of those on the list against repealing the GAS TAX has a financial interest in seeing the gas tax go forward … bunch of GREEDY scum

  2. California resident and we already PAY HIGH GAS PRICES to fix roads but that MONEY WAS STOLEN by Jerry Brown and his union thugs FOR PENSIONS..VOTE YES TO REPEAL ON 6TH..Tell those SCUM SUCKING DEMOCRATES TO FUC……K OFF

  3. Once upon a time big business interests wanted the people to have the money. Today they want the government to take and spend it. They really don’t care about the people, they just want to enrich themselves. And why not? Politicians fleece us, so they figure “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

  4. Emanuelle Goldstein says

    – Stop transportation improvement projects already underway in every community in California. Improvement projects such as what? If I really believed the majority of these funds would go to fix potholes, I’d be on board. But we all know that its going to fund mass transit projects (e.g., bail out BART, Metro Rail, et al).
    – Make traffic congestion worse. The only projects that would stop congestion are those that build more lanes and more new roads. The state has no intention of doing that. It may go to pay for more HOV lanes that will funnel all the other cars into more congested lanes and putting the rest of the state on a road diet.
    – Cost drivers and taxpayers more money in the long run. You’re going to be paying more for car repairs any way. Very little of the tax money will go to repairing potholes in roads.
    – Hurt job creation and the state’s economy. If CA really cared about reliable transportation, the state would not have let the current infrastructure deteriorate to the point that it has. This measure is a job security program for CalTrans workers and other state employees (680,000 good-paying jobs). It will be spent on higher salaries, benefits and pensions for state workers.

  5. iF Prop 6 forces the legislature to be ACCOUNTABLE WITH existing transportation tax dollars and IF they are not—Will all financing STOP COLD? I WOULD NOT vote for something that lets the legislature get away with TOTAL IRRESPONSIBILITY-WOULD YOU?

  6. If Prop-6 goes down to defeat, every motorist and consumer in CA can thank the CA CofC and other Big-Business Groups for the increased cost of fueling their vehicles, and the increased costs they see on the shelves of the stores they shop in – every item on those shelves is transported to that shelf by a vehicle paying increased taxes for fuel.
    CA is once again in the process of shooting itself in its foot.

  7. Let the people decide. I’m voting to repeal simply because the corruption in Sacramento will never change. Giving pols more $ is like giving more meth to an addict.

  8. Politicians need to be told that what happened to Josh Newman can happen to them. The constitution needs to be changed to reign in the crooked taxation and spending and the general fund abuses. This has NOTHING to do with roads, only special interests other than we the people.

  9. This is a repeat of two different votes we have already done. If people remember we had the opportunity to vote on two different propositions that was suppose to make the legislature use the gas tax only for the roads and info-structure, what happened to that money it has been diverted to other things and never been paid back. We now are paying for a train to nowhere and will never fulfill the promises made. It is going to cost ten times more than projected while taking as long to get from SF to LA that a car does, not an airplane as promised. Vote yes and let the socalled legislators know they can’t continue to rob us with their eyes open. The latest report is we already have about 3500 to many EE’s in Caltrans which means they need money for their retirement program.

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