California Republicans call for suspending state’s gas tax

California Republicans are calling for the immediate suspension of the state’s 51-cent per gallon gas tax in response to record-high gas prices, but their effort has been shot down in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. A group of lawmakers held a news conference Monday morning to announce they planned to force a floor vote later in the day to fast-track legislation that would suspend gas tax and backfill projects from the state’s $ 45 billion surpluses. The group included Republican Leader James Gallagher Assembly; Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin; Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk; Assemblymember Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita; and Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee.Gallagher said it’s time to give Californians “some much-needed relief from these high costs.” Assemblyman Kiley introduced AB 1638 back in January. However, the bill has not been assigned to a committee since then in order to move forward in the legislative process.In an attempt to fast-track the bill, Kiley asked lawmakers to waive the usual procedures and debate his bill on the Assembly floor today , but he was outnumbered in the Democratic-controlled Assembly. “Today the Republican and Independent Members of the Assembly voted to save Californians 51 cents per gallon by suspending the gas tax. In addition, 18 members abstained from the vote,” Kiley said in a statement afterward. “Unfortunately, the Supermajority rounded up enough votes to deny struggling Californians this modest measure of relief. Our state’s political leadership has never been so out of touch.” Democrats have resisted calls to scrap the gas tax.In January, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for suspending a planned increase in the gas tax in July and some key Democrats have been opposed to even that effort, The Associated Press reported.Newsom last week said he planned to offer Californians a direct rebate to address high gas prices. He did not announce specifics but said he would work with legislative leaders to “put money back in the pockets of Californians.” Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Newsom, said the rebate could happen as soon as this spring and total in the billions of dollars. It would be limited to people who have a car, she said. Kiley derided that plan as another “complicated new program “from the governor with a process that at this point is vague. The gas tax is set to raise $ 6.8 billion to pay for projects on highways and roads, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Here is where you can see how the money is spent. Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director, said the Republicans’ proposal “can be manipulated to help line the pockets of petro-dictatorship and oil companies who are benefiting from the spike in oil prices across the world. The Governor has proposed a tax rebate to provide billions in direct relief to Californians who are suffering from rising gas prices across the country, a direct result of Putin’s war. “Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley who specializes in energy, told SF Gate that scrapping the tax entirely would be a “bad idea.” “Besides the fact that it pays for a lot of infrastructures, it also represents costs not included when we burn gas like local pollution, congestion on roads and the risk to pedestrians when we choose to drive,” he said. “None of that is priced into the price of gasoline, and those costs would go up if we completely removed the gas tax.”

California Republicans are calling for the immediate suspension of the state’s 51-cent per gallon gas tax in response to record-high gas prices, but their effort has been shot down in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

A group of lawmakers held a news conference Monday morning to announce they planned to force a floor vote later in the day to fast-track legislation that would suspend gas tax and backfill projects from the state’s $ 45 billion surpluses. The group included Republican Leader James Gallagher Assembly; Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin; Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk; Assemblymember Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita; and Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee.

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Gallagher said it’s time to give Californians “some much-needed relief from these high costs.”

Assemblymember Kiley introduced AB 1638 back in January. However, the bill has not been assigned to a committee since then in order to move forward in the legislative process.

In an attempt to fast-track the bill, Kiley asked lawmakers to waive the usual procedures and debate his bill on the Assembly floor today, but he was outnumbered in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

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“Today the Republican and Independent Members of the Assembly voted to save Californians 51 cents per gallon by suspending the gas tax. In addition, 18 members abstained from the vote,” Kiley said in a statement afterwards. “Unfortunately, the Supermajority rounded up enough votes to deny struggling Californians this modest measure of relief. Our state’s political leadership has never been so out of touch.”

Democrats have resisted calls to scrap the gas tax. In January, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for suspending a planned increase in the gas tax in July and some key Democrats have been opposed to even that effort, The Associated Press reported.

Newsom last week said he planned to offer Californians a direct rebate to address high gas prices.

He did not announce specifics but said he would work with legislative leaders to “put money back in the pockets of Californians.”

Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Newsom, said the rebate could happen as soon as this spring and total in the billions of dollars. It would be limited to people who have a car, she said.

Kiley derided that plan as another “complicated new program” from the governor with a process that at this point is vague.

The gas tax is set to raise $ 6.8 billion to pay for projects on highways and roads, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Here is where you can see how the money is spent.

Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director, said the Republicans’ proposal “can be manipulated to help line the pockets of petro-dictatorship and oil companies who are benefiting from the spike in oil prices across the world. The Governor has proposed a tax rebate to provide billions in direct relief to Californians who are suffering from rising gas prices across the country, a direct result of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war. “

Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley who specializes in energy, told SF Gate that scrapping the tax entirely would be a “bad idea.”

“Besides the fact that it pays for a lot of infrastructures, it also represents costs not included when we burn gas like local pollution, congestion on roads and the risk to pedestrians when we choose to drive,” he said. “None of that is priced into the price of gasoline, and those costs would go up if we completely removed the gas tax. “

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