Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

California Strikes Deal with Truckers to Hike Fuel Tax

California Strikes Deal with Truckers to Hike Fuel Tax

Jerry Brown's proposed $5 billion increase in taxes and fees that would fund major road repairs.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, the only Senate Democrat to vote against the bill, and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, was the lone Assembly Democrat who voted against it.

Unless he can convince a handful of Republicans to break ranks, Brown will need near universal support from Democrats to muster the two-thirds supermajority required to raise taxes. "However, Gov. Brown and other gas tax proponents, by claiming a tax hike is needed, are actually admitting that transportation needs are their last priority".

The 10-year plan would boost gasoline excise taxes for the first time in more than two decades, raising them 12 cents per gallon - a 43 percent increase. The Senate had approved the measure earlier Thursday by a 27-11 margin, but the Assembly had a more hard time, with the initial tally coming up three votes short.

A massive $52 billion transportation deal that would raise fuel taxes and vehicle fees to fix California's pothole-ridden roads and unstable bridges cleared a key legislative committee Monday as proponents race to meet a self-imposed Thursday deadline.

The cost of repairs has ballooned to $59 billion for state highways and $78 billion for local roads, according to state estimates, but opponents say the state should be doing a better job managing the funding it already generates through taxes and fees before asking for more. "The State Senate tonight passed yet another tax on hard-working Californians because we continue to fail the people by wasting money on programs we can't afford", Stone said in a statement. If it were up to us, more of the money would be dedicated to roads, but more delays could scuttle the deal. "Advancing a tax increase is never easy, especially for California residents who have to foot the bill, but we have a transportation funding crisis". With $5 billion in new revenue, the state can quickly begin work on shovel-ready road repairs.

The police chiefs and other law enforcement agencies supported legislative passage of medical marijuana rules a year ago but opposed Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana after voters approved it in November.

In the Assembly, Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), whose district includes a small part of Fontana, said the bill would benefit the local area. All Democrats voted for the plan except southern California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. Before the vote, he met with Senate Democrats during a recess from the floor session and held back-to-back rallies earlier in the week in an attempt to garner votes. A half-billion dollars, if it's linked to a big tax hike to pay for overdue road repairs. "I am hopeful that the legislature will not do it", said Tucker. Jerry Brown, who has positioned the Golden State as a bulwark against the right-wing policies and legislative incompetence of the Trump administration. Almost two-thirds of his constituents are Latinos.

If signed into law, drivers will have to dole out an annual fee - ranging from $25 to $175 - with their vehicle registration.

All told, the new taxes are expected to collect $5.2 billion a year.

Alongside the governor were Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of South Gate, Riverside County Supervisors John Tavaglione and Chuck Washington, in addition to leaders from several civic organizations and union shops. AQMD officials warn that the amendment - even after it was tweaked ostensibly to address environmentalists' concerns - will likely lead to lawsuits if Southern California and other regions try to enact new rules that affect trucks. Democrats have the supermajorities, but are lobbying some reluctant members. "And, that's exactly what we did", Brown said.

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