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Californians have been bracing for sticker shock at the pump, and tomorrow, it arrives.
A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in on November 1st, and while motorists may see fewer dollars in their wallets, the long-term fallout will likely extend into next year's elections.
The tax, which was approved by the legislature, and approved by voters last year, will help raise more than $5.2 billion annually. The revenue has been earmarked to help repair California's crumbling roads, bridges as well as improve mass transit, expand bike lanes and help reduce traffic congestion. Proponents of the tax increase say the state has a backlog of $130 billion in repairs that need to be done.
The bill increases the state excise tax on gasoline by 12 cents, increasing it to 41.7 cents per gallon. Consumers who use diesel fuel will also see costs go up. The excise tax on diesel fuel will increase by 20 cents, making it 36 cents per gallon. The state sales tax rate on diesel will increase from 9% to 13%.
People driving electric cars like Teslas won't get away with anything. Electric car owners will begin paying a $100 annual fee in 2020.
The other part of the law, which increases vehicle registration costs, won't kick in until Jan. 1st.
Experts say Californians can expect to pay an additional $10 per month with the increased taxes and vehicle fees.
“These investments will create good-paying jobs, improve traffic safety and expand public transit access in communities across the state — without burdening our future generations with debt,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).
But, opponents disagree. Several ballot initiatives to repeal the hikes have been filed by members of the GOP who hope to capitalize on the issue during next year's elections. They say Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the country. Ads targeting Democrats like Eduardo Garcia of Coachella who voted for the tax increase
“Voting to raise gas taxes on our families means that Eduardo Garcia isn’t thinking about us,” one ad created by the Western Grower's Association says.