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How the Grinch… err Gas Tax Stole Christmas

A conservative Latino’s view on politics...

The $800 average the Gas tax takes from California families is the equivalent of what we spend on Christmas and shows our politicians to be Grinches stealing Christmas.

My mother worked at factories her whole life. She worked hard and sent most of her paycheck back to Panama. My father served 30-years in the military and provided for a family of six. We were never lacking, but money was tight as any enlisted military family will tell you. Come Christmas, we saw our share of toys, but never the trendsetting toy. 

When the Atari 2600 came out, my mouth watered with want, but my mother’s incredulous look said, “Fool, do you think I’m made of money?” Always reminded of how lucky we are, compared with family in Panama, we didn’t always understand but knew the realities of life. Our presents were economical – what was on sale yet appreciable but the “Cosby” household we weren’t. More like “That 70s Show.”

Then Intellivision came out. Intellivision was to Atari, what Xbox was to PS2. The Atari killer! But $299? A working-class household? That’s a non-starter. Yet that slick George Plimpton commercial showing Intellivision baseball and football superiority over Atari made me dream and my face lit up every time I saw it. Little did I know my mother noticed. 

I remember opening presents that Christmas, look up and see my mother struggling with a box. The box slipping from her grasp, wrapping slightly tearing and there it was, the coveted “Intellivision!” The George Plimpton endorsed console! The Atari killer! 

I remember that Christmas as the best. I was happier than Ralphie Parker unwrapping his Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. I know my mother had to sacrifice money that would’ve gone to Panama. In the early 80s – still a recession – $299 were big bucks in a working-class family. 

That’s equivalent to about $800 today and what the SB-1 Transportation bill (gas tax) steals from the average California family! 

REGRESSIVE TAX

From Investopedia: “a regressive tax is a tax applied uniformly, taking a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners.” Sacramento knew this and didn’t care. The carnage they leave in their wake doesn’t matter because, “the end justifies the means.” Does the term “out of touch” ring a bell? 

How can a politician look in the mirror and claim that raising the gas tax and vehicle registration fee helps the poor and working-class family? Truth is, they’re acceptable collateral damage to allow Sacramento’s fiscal abuse to continue. When confronted with the truth of a regressive tax and the Prop 6 ballot measure politicians are like the Grinch! Bitter and ill-tempered. Combative and dishonest. They have no shame!

REASONS THE GAS TAX IS DESPICABLE 

There’re various reasons to despise the SB-1 Transportation bill (the gas tax and registration fee):

• No money from the gas tax is “required” to be spent on roads or infrastructure. 

• Automatic tax hikes.

• It raises our car registration fee.

• We’re already the second highest gas-taxed state in the nation. 

• Every $1 spent on 1 mile of road in every other state, California spends $4.7. 

GAS TAX COSTS AN AVERAGE OF $800 PER YEAR

SB1 costs a family about $800, increasing costs to:

• fuel – $405, 

• vehicle registration – $250, 

• goods and services – $124 (conservative estimate). 

Poor to working-class families move inland for affordable housing or rentals. That means longer drives to work.  Many families who work in San Diego live in Temecula (1-2-hour commute), Hemet or Riverside (2-3 hours). The gas tax hammers them and others all over California! Those with diesel vehicles? That’s 20 cents more a gallon. 

DISPUTING THE $800 NUMBER

Critics dispute this number, but even numbers they give – $500 or $600 – ignores the truth. It’s a regressive tax that hurts poor and lower-income families. Most politicians who voted for this are well off – they won’t suffer. There’s a disconnect with Californians, but does this surprise us? NO! 

Politicians say they want to help. They don’t. They want to tax to continue their uncontrolled spending. They state we need the money but it’s already there. They purposely misappropriate those funds. They believe if they can afford $800 a year, you can too. It reminds me of the wealthy California congresswoman who said $1,000 tax savings are bread crumbs. 

I know firsthand how far $800 can go. It’s not just Latino families but every poor and working-class family. Giving your child a Christmas gift, they view as impossible is something all parents dream of. A mother making a Christmas memorable. Priceless. Thank you, mom. 

WHEN YOU SEE THE BALLOT:

“PROP 6: ELIMINATES CERTAIN ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING. REQUIRES CERTAIN FUEL TAXES AND VEHICLE FEES BE APPROVED BY THE ELECTORATE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.” 

VOTE YES! 

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

One response to “How the Grinch… err Gas Tax Stole Christmas”

  1. Valerie Parker says:

    I share this view! The pain at the gas tank is real and greatly affecting our bottom-line. Jerry and friends have an agenda and California tax paying citizens are not part of it. Shame on them for creating a misleading ballot regarding Prop 6…just remember to Vote Yes.

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