California Votes to Uphold Gov. Jerry Brown’s Gas Tax

Proposition 6, a measure that would have repealed Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas tax, failed at the ballot box as 55% of voters decided to allow the state government to charge the second highest gas prices in the United States. However, fierce opposition to the measure hasn’t died as Republican, Independent and even Democrat voters voiced fierce opposition to the gas tax.

According to a new law signed by Governor Brown last year, those in California would need to pay up to 12 cents per gallon more for gasoline while those purchasing diesel would need to pay up to 20 cents more per gallon. The price hikes would take place over the course of ten years and the governor’s office claims that, on average citizens would only pay about $10 more for gas every month or about $120 more for gas every year. However, other expert estimates note that the average additional expense per citizen would be higher.

The Sacramento Bee did an in-depth analysis of additional gasoline costs. It found that, on average, citizens could wind up paying more than $200 more per year for gasoline than they did before the new law was passed. It also noted that families that have a commute of an hour or more could wind up paying up to $370 more per year in gas expenses. What is more, the additional gasoline costs only cover what vehicle owners would pay at the pump. It does not take into account the fact that transportation costs in the state would increase due to rising gasoline taxes, and that this increase would be passed down to consumers who would be faced with rising prices for daily necessities such as food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and clothing. It is also worth noting that gasoline prices would raise in accordance with inflation.

There was a very real chance that Proposition 6 would have passed. A recent survey found that 50% of Republican voters, 42% of independent voters and a whopping 33% of all Democrat voters were in favor of Proposition 6. While a slim majority of voters were in favor of the new gas tax law, the survey revealed that the “yes” voters were more dedicated to their cause than the “no” voters. Up to 55% of people in favor of repealing the new gas tax said that the issue was very important, while fewer than half of the “no” voters said the same thing about their position.

Naturally, opposition to the new gas tax was higher in some areas than others, and this has led a number of Democratic politicians to buck their own party to vote in favor of Proposition 6. Democratic candidates who spoke out against the new gas tax included House of Representative candidates Katie Porter, Josh Harder, Jessica Morse, Andrew Janz and Ammar Campa-Najjar. Other Democratic candidates opted to sidestep the issue rather than address it head-on and risk alienating potential voters. In the end, California’s government had to give the measure a misleading ballot title so that voters who would have voted in favor of Proposition 6 would vote against it instead.

The idea behind the new gas tax law is that the revenue generated from it would be used to repair public roads and improve public transportation. Furthermore, proponents of the new gas tax state that the new tax is in the public’s interest as new, repaired roads would put less wear and tear on vehicles driving through the state, thus saving vehicle owners money that would have been spent on vehicular repairs. However, as Proposition 6 proponents point out, there are ways to fund needed road repairs and public transportation investments without charging higher gas prices.

GOP lawmakers have noted that, if the state of California reworked its budget, it would be able to handle these important expenses without a gas tax. Unfortunately for state residents and those who opt to travel through California, Gov. Jerry Brown and those working under him opted to push their agenda of raising taxes in the name of providing “better care” to California’s people.

~ Liberty Planet