Local assemblymember: No guarantee gas tax increase will be spent to repair roads

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Late last week, the California Legislature approved a 12-cent tax increase on a gallon of gasoline and it will bring pain to California’s 28 million drivers.

This transportation tax also includes a hefty increase in the annual vehicle license fee, which cost former Governor Gray Davis his job.

These increases will raise $52 billion over 10 years to pay for road repairs and other infrastructure.

These increases comes as tax collections increased by $36 million over the last six years. 

What did that money go?

Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein said none of it went to road repairs.

" … and yet now the justification is we need a tax increase to spend money on roads," Maienschein said.

Here’s what’s being increased:

  • Gasoline by 12 cents a gallon and increased every year tied to inflation
  • A 20-cent increase in Diesel fuel
  • The annual vehicle license fee will increase between $25 and $175 depending on the vehicle
  • Zero emission vehicles will be hit with a $100 annual fee

What we have here is the Democrats, led by the governor, imposing their will on the electorate.

No question the state’s infrastructure needs attention, but where does the money come from?

A familiar refrain from Democrat Senator Toni Atkins last week on Good Morning San Diego: 

"I think what most of the comments are taking it out of existing funds, where do you want to take that money from? Higher education? K through 12? health care? Public safety? Courts?"

Why not go back to the voters as the governor did in 2012 when a temporary tax imposed on the wealthy was extended by the voters?

"This is a tax increase. The voters got no say in it and I think that’s wrong. And secondly, to make it even worse, it’s tied to inflation so this gas tax is gonna continue to rise in the future and the voters won’t have any input on that," Mainschein said.

Taxes require a two-thirds vote, either by voters or both houses of the legislature.

The polling shows the voters no longer have an appetite for new taxes without spending reforms.

So what did the governor do to get this passed? He had to sweeten the pot for some Democrat defections and one Republican, all of whom were promised millions in projects for their districts.

"It isn’t gonna have a significant affect on the roads, but it will have a significant affect on everybody in California who drives," Maienschein said. "To say there needs to be a tax increase to pay for roads is disingenuous."

And Maienschein said there is no guarantee the new money will go to roads.

Categories: Local San Diego News