Democrats to hit California motorists in the wallets

Gas prices in California are already the highest in the nation. Tax and spend your money to buy votes. It is the democrat way, hence why the blue states have the highest cost of living in the country. This will push motorists into electric cars even faster

California Democrats want to hike fuel taxes and car registration fees and charge zero-emissions vehicle owners $100 per year to fund $52.4 billion in transportation fixes.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Democratic leaders yesterday announced they'd reached an agreement to support a deal after two years of effort. The state wants to pay upfront rather than "kick the can down the road," they said, by using bonds or some other mechanism. Gas taxes haven't increased in 23 years.

"Yes it costs money. And if the roof in your house is leaking, you better fix it because it gets worse all the time," Brown said at a press conference outside the state capitol in Sacramento. "The only choice is do we borrow from the next generation or do we really belly up to the bar and say, here's what it costs and we're going to pay it."

Passing the bill with its tax increases will require a two-thirds vote under state law. Democrats hold a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers, but they need every vote save one in the Assembly.

Winning any Republican votes seems unlikely. In a joint statement, Senate and Assembly Republicans decried the measure.

"Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation," the GOP statement said. "The transportation proposal announced by the Capitol Democrats is a costly and burdensome plan that forces ordinary Californians to bail out Sacramento for years of neglecting our roads.

"This proposal would include the largest gas tax increase in state history, which will continue to rise over time, and a massive increase to the diesel tax and vehicle license fee," the statement added.

The measure proposes raising about $5 billion per year for a decade. It would increase the diesel excise tax 20 cents per gallon and hike the diesel sales tax to 5.75 percent. It would raise the gasoline excise tax 12 cents per gallon.

The package also would increase vehicle registration fees, and it would add a new $100 annual fee to zero-emission vehicles.

Funds collected would be split equally between fixes to local streets and related infrastructure, and state highways and transportation needs. Projects would fill potholes, smooth highways, repair bridges and culverts, and help reduce congestion, Democrats said. Some money would go to repairs that improve public transportation and other dollars to "infrastructure that promotes walking and bicycling."

Brown noted President Trump's proposal to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. If successful, the California measure would fund the 50 percent matching share states would need to pay, he said.

Democrats are seeking to get votes quickly, as soon as next week. Anne C. Mulkern, EENews

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