A Republican lawmaker in California filed a ballot initiative Monday to repeal a recently approved $52 billion gas tax.
“In 2010, Jerry Brown said, ‘there should be no tax increases without a vote of the people.’ Repealing the gas tax will simply help him keep his promise to California voters,” California Assemblyman Travis Allen said in a press statement Monday.
He was referring to the so-called Road Repair and Accountability Act, a law that ratchets up the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, and raises the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cents a gallon. It also etches out an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.
“Adding insult to injury,” Allen noted, “this massive new tax will not build any new roads, and it will do nothing to fix California’s worst in the nation traffic. In fact, Brown’s new gas tax legislation actually has specific language that will reduce lane capacity and increase traffic.”
California became the state with the highest gas tax after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure. The Golden State leap-frogged Pennsylvania, at $0.50 cents per gallon (cpg), with New York at $0.42 cpg following closely behind. The Golden State’s gas tax would increase from $0.40 to 0.52 cpg.
“The Republicans in Sacramento want to fix our roads. They love the idea,” he said earlier this week. “They just don’t want to be associated with the bill because it has money in it. I think they expect the tooth fairy to pay the $5 billion every year.”
Gas taxes are supposed to provide revenue for road construction, maintenance, repair, and improvements, but states typically divert much of the money to other sources. In 2013, for instance, gas taxes and motor vehicle license fees paid for 40 percent of state and local road spending.
The law also favors people who own electric vehicles, most of whom are wealthy, over those who use gas-powered vehicles. Nearly 50 percent of the country’s electric vehicles are produced and purchased in California.