Gas Tax Repeal Circulates as Jerry Brown Gives China Climate Change Speech

Jerry Brown (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty
CHRISS W. STREET
Newport Beach, CA

Governor Jerry Brown jetted off to China on Friday to deliver the Under2 Coalition keynote speech in an effort further raise taxes to fight climate change — even as Repeal The Gas Tax professional petitioners began to hit California shopping centers statewide.

Breitbart News reported that on May 31, Gov. Brown called President Trump’s announcement that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords an “insane,” move and referred to President Donald Trump as exhibiting “deviant behavior.”

But just hours later, five members of Brown’s Democrat-controlled Assembly yanked their support for AB 378. The bill would have extended for another 10 years, until 2030, the state’s cap-and-trade legislation that requires manufacturers, transporters, energy and utility companies to buy high-priced carbon credits to continue or expand operations.

Some of the legislature’s Democrats’ new concerns for not harming middle class consumer sending seems closely tied to Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (Huntington Beach) deploying paid professional petition gathers for his Repeal The Gas Tax initiative, filed on May 4 for the November 2018 ballot.

On April 28, Gov. Brown rammed SB 1 (Fix Our Roads) through the legislature with the support of a coalition of labor unions, local governments and road builders. The $5.2 billion annual tax increase passed on an almost strictly partisan basis, with just one Republican supporting (Ayes 54, Noes 26).

Brown’s unpopular bill increases the gas tax by $0.12-per-gallon and assesses another $175 per vehicle on private vehicles. Diesel vehicles, which tend to be commercial, will be slammed with a $0.20-per-gallon increase, plus about $0.12-per-gallon more in sales taxes.

Democrat governors regularly spiked California gas taxes and vehicle registration fees for decades. But 12 years ago, Democrat Gov. Gray Davis was recalled by voters after pushing the state legislature to pass a vehicle registration fee increase from $46 to $158.

The legislature cancelled that increase, and Democrats avoided similar increases for years. The California Assembly did consider spiking gasoline taxes last year, but the issue was dropped after polls showed 63 percent of voters opposed any increase.

Brown is now in the last two years of his fourth and final term as California Governor. Although he has made climate change his most important issue, only Democrat and Latino voters tend to express similar concerns in the 70 percent range. By contrast, only 50 percent of African Americans, 52 percent of Asian Americans and 49 percent of are concerned, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Those numbers drop significantly for all political ad ethnic categories if they must pay higher taxes to fight climate change.

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