Have you ever had a tooth extracted without Novocaine or some other pain killer? When facing something painful, it’s always helpful to apply a numbing agent and, when administered by competent medical personnel, anesthesia provides effective relief. But when politicians try to mask pain, be skeptical.
The 12 cent increase in California’s gas tax which took effect in November has garnered a great deal of media attention, much of it negative. That explains why California [politicians] have tried to mask the pain of the tax hike.
In perhaps their most deceptive move ever, California Democrats chose the same day that gas prices traditionally go down by 12 cents to increase them by 12 cents. Nov. 1 was the first day California’s cheaper “winter blend” gas can be sold which costs about 12 cents less a gallon. November 1st was also the day that the 12 cent per gallon tax went into effect statewide.
But this is just phase one of a yearly $5 billion tax hike on California families. The largest gas tax hike in state history means drivers will pay a total of 50 cents a gallon in taxes to the state when they fill up. By 2019 it will have risen to 57 cents a gallon. Diesel truck drivers are getting hit too. Their price per gallon will jump 20 cents a gallon and will also include a 4 percent sales tax increase. Note that these figures do not include the excise tax from the federal government, another 18 cents per gallon.
Phase two will hit when you re-register your vehicle next year. The average driver will pay $50 more than last year due to a brand new “transportation improvement fee,” though some could pay up to $175. Electric car owners aren’t off the hook either. They’ll pay $100 more a year to register starting in 2020.
Brace yourself for this next revelation … none of these increases take into account an estimated 71 cent a gallon increase expected from the recently renewed cap-and-trade scheme by 2031.
The cost of living in California is way above the national average and most of that higher cost is the result of foolish tax and regulatory policies. Moreover, higher taxes and out of control spending haven’t improved our level of public services. For example, General Fund spending has increased by $36 billion over the last six years with not a dime going to transportation. Instead, we’re now saddling California households with roughly $600 in new annual gas and car taxes.
And it’s no surprise that many taxpayers don’t believe their tax dollars will be spent as promised. We know that at least 30 percent of the revenue from the tax increase is already slated to be spent on non-road improvement projects. Bait-and-switch by the ruling party is nothing new and there’s good reason to believe additional revenue will be diverted to pay for pet projects like high speed rail.
There is already plenty of money to fix our roads but political elites and special interests wanted another blank check from California taxpayers. For now, they have it. But come November 2018, voters might tear up that check by repealing these burdensome tax hikes.
Jon Coupal is the president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, represents the 23rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes communities in Fresno and Tulare County.
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights. For more information, visit www.hjta.org.