At the start of this year, California had the 7th highest taxes and fees on gas in the U.S. Thanks to the gas tax increase championed by Gov. Jerry Brown that took effect on November 1st, it is estimated that California will have the nation’s 2nd highest gas tax by 2019, behind only Pennsylvania, with total state taxes and fees coming to 58.3 cents per gallon.
Proponents claim funds from the new tax hike will fund transportation needs, but the Golden State has a bad track record of diverting gas tax funds elsewhere. Despite already having some of the highest taxes and fees on gas in the nation, California has some of the worst and most congested roads in the country. A big reason for that is gas tax revenues get used for things other than building new roads and instead spend the money on non-transportation purposes. That can be expected to continue with the most recent gas tax hike.
Gov. Brown’s gas tax hike will cost California taxpayers $5 billion per year. That’s about $600 extra per year that the average family will shell out because of this tax. Fortunately, there may be a way for voters to undo this harmful tax hike. State Assemblyman Travis Allen is leading an initiative to repeal this latest gas tax hike. This requires 365,880 signatures to be gathered from registered voters in 180 days in order to qualify it for the ballot in November 2018.
Unfortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra are misleading California voters by drafting language for the measure that would appear on the ballot in a deceitful manner. The state constitution requires ballot initiative summaries to be drafted with neutral language. But Attorney General Becerra’s language is far from neutral and is outright misleading, in a shameless attempt to prevent the gas tax from meeting its potential demise at the hands of voters.
Becerra claims that the gas tax repeal initiative seeks to eliminate the Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is a blatant lie because that agency doesn’t exist. Becerra also falsely alleges in his ballot statement that the initiative would be taking away existing transportation funds, when in reality the initiative leaves the existing transportation funds alone.
Becerra’s misleading statement has led Assemblyman Travis Allen to file a lawsuit against the Attorney General for his deceptive ballot statement, and to revert back to the initiative’s original, straightforward, and honest language.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, praises the Assemblyman Allen for his efforts in defense of taxpayers:
“Assemblyman Travis Allen should be applauded for his efforts to repeal this tax hike, which will siphon even more money from the pockets of California taxpayers, who already face one of the nation’s heaviest overall tax and regulatory burdens, and send it to the black hole for taxpayer dollars that is Sacramento.
This tax hike will disproportionately harm low and middle income households already facing steep tax bills. I commend Assemblyman Allen, Carl DeMaio, and others who are working to give voters a choice to repeal this latest Sacramento cash grab.
While Gov. Brown and national Democrats talk about taxing the rich, Jerry Brown’s gas tax hike is just the latest example of how the party of Pelosi, Schumer, Brown, Cuomo, and Malloy is pushing a policy agenda that harms middle and low income households. Now Attorney General Becerra is shamelessly lying to voters in order to prevent them from having a chance to repeal this tax hike. All in all a sad state of affairs in the Golden State.”