I was going to take a week off from writing my opinion piece; I do that sometimes. Then, as I was preparing to leave for a training in San Diego, I got a news alert that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1, the transportation bill, into law. I knew that my plan to give Valley News readers a break from my opinion was out the window.
More taxes. Are you kidding me?
Brown and the legislature have come under fire by many thanks to the plan which increases the gas tax by 12 cents on the gallon with a 17-cent variable excise tax, an excise tax on diesel fuel of 20 cents per gallon and a four-percentage point sales tax on diesel. Under the new legislation, electric cars will pay a $100 annual fee, and all residents will pay a new annual vehicle fee ranging from $25 for cars valued at under $5,000 to $175 for cars worth $60,000 or more.
According to the propaganda issued by the Governor’s Office, the new taxes will cost most Californians under $10 a month. I call baloney.
According to a story that ran in the San Diego Union Tribune by Rob Nikolewski, entitled “How much you’ll REALLY pay in gasoline tax in California (Hint: It’s probably more than you think),” that 12 cents a gallon in gasoline taxes is only the beginning.
The total amount in excise taxes will reach 41.7 cents per gallon Nov. 1 and a “few other tweaks will follow before the rate will be fixed at 47.3 cents a gallon in July 2019.” The article is reporting that along with other taxes and fees, we are paying 58.3 cents on the gallon. Don’t forget to add in the federal tax on gas at 18.4 cents a gallon and suddenly we are looking at 76.7 cents per gallon.
Kim is not a happy camper, and neither are our local legislatures.
From Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, when he issued a press release where he urged Brown to veto the bill, “Who does this tax hike hurt? Not the coastal elite of San Francisco and Los Angeles who have shorter commutes and much more access to public transportation. It hurts the poor. It hurts the middle class. It hurts small-business owners.”
From Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, “Californians know they already pay enough for core government services and programs, including our roads and highways. What they rightfully expect is that the state will better prioritize its spending and get its finances in order. Instead, under one-party rule by Democrats in Sacramento, taxpayers are fleeced again, finding themselves having to pay more for government that delivers less.”
From Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, “California’s worn-out, insufficient roads and freeways are the direct result of poor leadership in Sacramento, failure to plan ahead and unkept promises to our working people, where billions of transportation dollars have been diverted to pay for other things and not to fix our roads. California used to have freeways second to none. Asking working families to pay higher gas fees and car registrations with nothing to show for it is wrong. Shipping surcharges to cover fuel and the cost of goods will rise, hurting working people, costing jobs, incomes and business growth.”
My personal favorite comes from Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, who called the signing of SB 1, “A lemon of a gas and car tax hike.”
I agree to all of the above.
After getting an article up on www.myvalleyenews.com, www.anzavalleyoutlook.com and www.villagenews.com, I took to Twitter to see what people were saying.
“Unlike other accomplishments, like recent climate change efforts, @JerryBrownGov chose to skip any bill signing photo op on transpo plan,” Myers tweeted.
I am of the opinion Brown chose to forego fanfare and a photo opportunity while signing the bill because he knew signing it would get negative reactions from, well, people like me.
Again, I must point out, I am not alone in opposition to this tax. ABC7 did a poll on the gas tax and where Californians stood on it. Plenty opposed it, 44 percent to be exact, 20 percent were unsure. Fifty-nine percent of respondents opposed the proposed “transportation improvement fee,” and shocker, 61 percent said “the agency should make better use of the revenue it has now.”
Those numbers beg the question, are lawmakers listening to constituents? Well, down here, in southwest Riverside County, I believe they are, but everywhere else in the state, probably not. The one thing I feel certain about is that Brown’s passion for his multibillion-dollar bullet train outranks any need, want or desire of the people. Instead of listening to the voices of those who elected him to office, he continues to recklessly spend money that could be put to better use on our roads, our schools and a million other things.
But hey, it’s only my opinion.