12-cent gas tax increase begins, repeal process beings to stop it
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Fifty-eight percent of Californians oppose the 12-cent increase in the gas tax that took effect Wednesday and the increase in the vehicle registration fee that starts in January. The voters approved both increases, but now that they have to start shelling out the cash, they are not happy.
When voters approved the taxes, they were warned of the consequences. Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway said, "I hope voters understand what they’ve done. I expect a full-out assault on taxpayers."
Seven years ago, California allowed Sacramento, with two-thirds of the legislature, to enact tax increases without asking for voter permission. Two years later, we gave the Democrats a supermajority, and last March, they hit us with the gas and car tax increases.
They were sold to the voters on the promise that $52 billion would be spent on fixing roads, bridges and reducing traffic congestion, but there are no guarantees.
Reform California, headed by former City Councilman Carl DeMaio, is attempting to kill the taxes through the initiative process.
"This is fraud. It is theft because our existing gas tax has been diverted. It doesn’t go to roads. Only 20 percent of the money we currently spend on gas taxes go to roads in California and this money can be spent anywhere," DeMaio said Wednesday on "Good Morning San Diego."
In fact, Sacramento has been neglecting road repairs for years, diverting funds to the general fund and the governor’s legacy projects, such as the water tunnels and the bullet train.
DeMaio’s signature drive to stop the car and gas taxes begins on Nov. 27, but opponents can pre-sign now online, and more than 200,000 have done so already.
"We’re amending the Constitution to say, ‘No gas tax passed after January 1 of 2017 shall be enforced or valid unless it’s approved by a vote of the people,’" DeMaio said.
And any future increases needs a vote of the people.
There is a companion initiative to repeal these taxes by Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen, which was on hold for a time because Democrat Attorney General Xavier Bacerra, in drafting the ballot title and summary, failed to mention the measure would repeal the taxes.
A judge forced him to include the language to avoid misleading the voters.
His measure would repeal the statute whereas DeMaio’s would amend the Constitution.
When voters finally realized the deal they were promised was not the deal they were getting, the revolt began.
"That’s how they sold it and mainly because they didn’t have to sell, they didn’t have to go to the taxpayers because you’ve got a supermajority in the Senate and Assembly. They can pass taxes anytime they want to," said KOGO Radio’s Sully Sullivan.
Sullivan suggests we limit term limits to six years instead of 12 to severely limit what he calls the lobbyist cartel that keeps the Democrats in power with campaign funds.
It may be that the Democrats, and the governor with their unfettered power, may have overreached on this one and will have to answer to it at next year’s elections.