SACRAMENTO (KPIX) – California drivers have been paying a gasoline tax at the pump for 7 months. Governor Jerry Brown signed the law last April, which raised the state excise tax on gas by 12 cents.
Now, voters here may get the chance to get rid of it come November, and that has Democrats worried.
John Cox, Republican candidate for governor, said he had no problem getting a million signatures to put a repeal of the gas tax on the November ballot.
“There are people – millions all across this state that have moved farther and farther away from their place of work in order to get a house they can afford and then the legislature slaps them with this gas tax,” says Cox. “We had people chasing the signature gatherers to sign this; it’s usually the other way around.”
Governor Jerry Brown’s budget spends $5 billon from the gas tax but it also shows a $16 billion overall surplus.”
Cox asks, “If they’ve got such a big surplus, why are they collecting this gas tax?”
Proponents of the tax say transportation projects are big, long term investments and they need a consistent funding stream.
Graham Knaus is the executive director of the California State Association of Counties.
“There’s a boom and bust budget cycle in the legislature that’s been true for many, many years,” he says. “We cannot afford to return to that. It will threaten the ability to move forward on these transportation projects.”
Governor Brown has vowed to fight the repeal.
Brown has $15 million in the bank. He could spend it in a campaign against the repeal.
Bay Area projects already getting funding from the gas tax include over 250 BART cars, dozens of AC Transit buses and better street signage in Novato.