California May Raise Gas Tax For The First Time Since The 1990s

California Democrats and Republicans may agree to raise the state’s gas tax in order to address the $59 billion the state needs for roadway maintenance. Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, has introduced SB 16, which aims to raise $3 billion every year by hiking the gas tax 10 cents a gallon, raise the vehicle license fee 0.007 % each year and make owners of electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles pay an annual fee of $100. In addition, he would take the $1 billion gleaned from truck weight fees every year and deposit it into the transportation budget.

Senate GOP leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, termed Beall’s plan a “creative” solution.

“There are some in our caucus who would vote for a more robust transportation package,” Huff said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “A clean, clear nexus between what’s being raised and how the money is being spent is the magic formula for winning Republican support on this.”

Beall’s bill has already been passed by two committees, with only two Republicans voting against it, though many Republicans have abstained from voting. Senate Republicans introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 7 in April, a similar plan to Beall’s. The Democrats will need Republican support because they no longer have supermajorities in either legislative house.

California already has a massive 48.6-cent gas tax, according to the Mercury News, although Fox News reported it as 68 cents a gallon last August. The California Board of Equalization voted unanimously in February to lower the state excise tax on gasoline by 6 cents per gallon. The gas tax has not been raised since the early 1990s.