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Gas tax will hit local motorists in one week

Don’t forget to fill your car tank soon, since gas prices will NEVER be this low again.

In one week, on November 1 the California gas tax and additional car registration fee will go into effect. It is estimated that the average driver will pay an additional $300-$400 for the new tax.

However, there is a group of activists attempting to qualify a repeal of the gas tax on next year’s November ballot. Reform California, led by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, is currently collecting signatures. They would need to collect 587,407 signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.

“Sacramento politicians really crossed the line with these massive car and gas tax hikes and we intend to give taxpayers the chance to reverse that decision with this initiative,” DeMaio said in a statement.

In April, l the California legislature approved a $52 billion infrastructure plan that is meant to address thousands of miles of roads and maintenance projects in the state.

This is the first hike in state gas taxes in 23 years.

The cost for this massive project will be shouldered almost exclusively by the drivers of the Golden State, who will be handing over 12 cents a gallon—which experts say will be about $10 per month for the average motorist. Most drivers will also pay from $25 to $50 per year in additional license fees: which is a new annual fee.  The additional taxes and fees are expected to raise about $33.7 billion.

The motivating factor for most of the lawmakers was that the state’s roads are almost as ill—and many require emergency “surgery.”

The passage was a big win for Governor Jerry Brown, who told a rally on the steps of the capitol, “Fixing our roads is basic. If you don’t do it now it gets more expensive next year and the year after.”

Currently the state has a backlog of about $130 billion in necessary road repairs. It has been estimated that half of the state’s roads are in disrepair.

The state’s GOP criticized the bill for imposing “regressive taxes on low-income and middle-class families,” adding, “Californians pay the second highest gas prices and gas taxes (including cap-and-trade) in the nation.  The average Californian pays more than $200 every year to register a vehicle.  This bill will increase the average cost of registering a vehicle by over $50, and the cost of gasoline by nearly 20 cents/gallon (over current rate).”

Critics also pointed out that the legislature has diverted billions of dollars of transportation taxes and used them for non-transportation purposes, and said nothing prevents the new taxes from also being diverted.

Governor Brown issued a statement attacking Reform California: “I can’t believe the proponents of this ballot measure really want Californians to keep driving on lousy roads and dangerous bridges. Taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair borders on insanity.”

Senator Jim Beall, the San Jose lawmaker who authored the gas tax bill, defended the action:

“The Legislature and governor took action to solve a $130-billion-plus backlog in deferred road maintenance that threatens California’s economy. Delaying that action will cause the backlog to grow and put our roads at risk of being ruined beyond repair, costing taxpayers more to replace and rebuild the existing system.”

If you are interested in contributing to the efforts to repeal the gas tax, you can send checks to “Reform California” and mail it to PO Box 27227, San Diego CA 92198. Or visit their website at www.reformcalifornia.org/

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