California Democrats Allow Gas Tax to Rise 3 Cents per Gallon on July 1

Gas prices are seen in front of a billboard advertising HBO's Last Week Tonight in Los Angeles, Monday, March 7, 2022. The price of regular gasoline broke $4 per gallon on average across the U.S. on Sunday for the first time since 2008.
Jae C. Hong/AP

California Democrats are allowing the state gas tax to continue to rise in the middle of a price surge, hiking it three cents on July 1 in accordance with a law the party pushed through the state legislature in 2017, and rejecting proposals to relent.

The gas tax hike was passed by a supermajority of both houses of the state legislature, supposedly to pay for transportation expenses that politicians had failed to deal with in the ordinary budget. Public opposition was intense, leading to the recall of one of the Democrats whose vote had been crucial to the gas tax hike. But state Democrats defeated a referendum that would have repealed the gas tax hike, with state officials attaching a misleading description to the initiative on the 2018 ballot.

Earlier this year, with gas prices soaring across the nation and pushing California’s heavily-taxed prices to the highest in America, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed postponing the scheduled gas tax hike. But state Democrats refused to support his idea, even though national Democrats have floated the idea of a federal gas tax holiday as a way of slowing the rise in prices, which is raising inflation and creating a political headache for the party as it heads into the midterm election in November.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday:

California’s gas tax is scheduled to increase on July 1 after legislative leaders rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to suspend the hike to help drivers cope with sky-high prices at the pump.

Drivers will now pay about 3 cents more per gallon when the inflationary increase takes effect, with the tax rate slated to increase from 51.1 cents per gallon to 53.9 cents per gallon. That tax is built into the price of gas in California, which is hovering around $5.74 per gallon on average.

Sunday was the deadline for Newsom and state legislators to suspend the tax hike in time to prevent it from taking effect this summer, since the move would require 60 days’ lead time. But the governor and Democratic leaders in the Legislature have been sharply divided over competing proposals to provide relief from high gas prices.

Newsom’s office said over the weekend that he would persist in efforts to provide $400 rebates to Californians to help them afford the rising price of gas, even though the legislature had declined to follow his lead in canceling the July 1 tax hike.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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