On June 1, California's gas tax is set to increase. For the third time in the last four years. (Yay......) But amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and record unemployment numbers, some state lawmakers are calling for a freeze on the upcoming tax increase.
July's increase is set to raise the tax by 3.2 cents, bringing it to 50.5 cents per gallon of gas.
According to state officials, that increase will bring in $440 million more the coming fiscal year. But some lawmakers like Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), say that California residents don't deserve another tax increase, especially during a pandemic.
Assemblyman Fong, who's also the vice chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said the increase “further rubs Sacramento salt into the wounds of California residents who are struggling with uncertainty and real financial pain."
And let's not forget the fact that most Californians have driven a lot less the past few months, all due to the pandemic and lockdowns. According to an analysis conducted by the California Department of Transportation in April, traffic volume was down about 35% as compared to April of last year.
“Unemployment continues to rise and all the ways California was unaffordable prior to the pandemic still exist — suspending the gas tax increase is the least that could be done,” Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron said.
But in order to freeze or cancel the upcoming increase, there would have to be a vote by the Legislature, and both the State and Assembly have already stated they have no plans for that vote. A spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom also said that he has no plans on proposing a change to the upcoming gas tax increase.
For more information, visit the Los Angles Times.