Will California Finally Suspend the Gas Tax?

Will California Finally Suspend the Gas Tax?
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers is calling for the suspension of the state’s 51-cent gas tax, but the timing of the letter makes it a long shot.

They are asking Democratic Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon to move AB 2457 out of committee “to be taken up for debate and a vote on the Assembly Floor before the House of Origin Deadline.”

Unfortunately, the deadline is Friday, which means that it would need to be moved almost immediately in order to have any chance of coming to fruition. Still, the Democrats that signed the letter would need to convince their colleagues to vote to scrap the tax, which is set to increase another 3 cents on July 1, Fox 40 reported.

The average price of gas is $6.07 a gallon in California, so a suspension would instantly save Californians money. Although gas would still be expensive, those dollars saved could make a huge difference for some drivers.

“All of these pressures make a $7+ gallon a real possibility, which would cripple mobility in the state,” the letter said.

“All Californians would feel these prices, but they would have the most severe impact on the poor and working-class families who are more likely to face longer commutes because of the high cost of housing near the state’s largest job centers.”

Republicans have been begging the state’s Democratic supermajority to repeal the gas tax outright for years, especially with Proposition 6 in 2018. When prices nationwide skyrocketed due to poor energy policies, demand increases, and inflation, state Republicans renewed their call. Instead, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hard-left allies in the legislature are busy debating a rebate check, CapRadio reported. Democrats would rather dole out the cash, which they are historically horrible at (look at the Employment Development Department fraud controversy for reference) than admit their own faults.

“With a $97.5B surplus, there’s no reason to reject bipartisan proposals by the Problem Solvers Caucus calling for immediate relief at the pump. Hardworking Californians are struggling w high costs especially in my rural district, where many hit the freeways for long commutes!” Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron tweeted.

Suspending the gas tax is the simplest and fastest way to save Californian’s cash at the pump, and even some Democrats understand that. There is also almost no risk of fraud or mix-ups, as opposed to handing out checks. It’s too easy, which is why the assembly will likely let the bill die.

UPDATE [5/27/22, 6:59 p.m. EDT]: In response to a request for comment from RedState, Republican California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who signed the letter, said:

My proposal to suspend the gas tax has been rejected 4 times by the Supermajority, but now we finally have bipartisan support. Other states, red and blue alike, have suspended their gas tax. There is no excuse for waiting any longer to provide Californians this modest measure of relief.

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