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Gas tax bullies send letter to Republicans, vow battle over repeal effort

Proponents of SB 1, the massive car and gas tax, sent a letter to the Republican House delegation, threatening to go after them if they join the campaign to repeal the tax.

The letter, signed by a group of 20 businesses and labor and local government groups reads:

"We have become aware that consideration is being given to sponsoring an initiative to repeal SB 1, a measure passed by the California State Legislature earlier this year to increase funding for state and local transportation programs and projects. 

We appreciate that your primary goal is to protect all incumbent Republicans and increase the number of Republicans in the House as well as other elected bodies. We would not expect you to have any other fundamental objective. 

However, a strategy to use an initiative to repeal SB 1 to reach your goal may be counterproductive to your objectives. Fundamentally, any attack on SB 1 amounts to an attack on improving our badly-deficient transportation system, endangering our economic growth and competitiveness, and increasing unemployment. 

With so much at stake, our organizations will have no option but to mount a robust and powerful effort in opposition to this initiative, using the voices of California’s business community to counter your efforts. We don’t think your objective is to create new political adversaries. 

The expected funding from SB 1 is critical to California, if it remains intact. Attached is a spreadsheet of transportation funding that will be sent to the cities and counties in your district to improve local streets and roads, state highways, and invest in local job creating transportation improvement projects. 

Rather than enter into a battle that is likely only to be a distraction from your primary objective and self-defeating, we would like to engage you in a conversation to discuss the pitfalls of this approach. Our polling tells us that the transportation package funding is more popular than may be perceived and, of course, by the time voting occurs, work all over the state to improve our transportation system will actually be underway. 

As principal stakeholders in this matter, we would like to meet with you to discuss the issue and the political consequences involved before you decide on a course of action. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter, we look forward to a dialogue." 

The letter is then signed by the following organizations:

  • Brad Diede, Executive Director American Council of Engineering Companies California (ACEC California)
  • Lucy Dunn, President & CEO Orange County Business Council 
  • Tom Holsman, CEO Associated General Contractors of California (AGC California)
  •  Gary Toebben, President & CEO Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce 
  • Michael Quigley, Executive Director California Alliance for Jobs
  • Gary W. Hambly, President & CEO California Construction and Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA)
  • Carolyn Coleman, Executive Director League of California Cities 
  • Mary Rotelli, Chief Operating Officer Teichert Construction 
  • Brock Lodge, President, Western Division Vulcan Materials Company 
  • Jim Wunderman, President and CEO Bay Area Council 
  • Russell W. Snyder, CAE, Executive Director California Asphalt Pavement Association (CalAPA) 
  • Sallie Houston, President Western Regional Association for Pavement Preservation (WRAPP) 
  • Matt Cate, Executive Director California State Association of Counties (CSAC) 
  • Roger Dickinson, Executive Director Transportation California 
  • Jim Roberts, President & CEO Granite Construction 
  • John Hakel, Executive Director Southern California Partnership for Jobs 
  • Stuart Waldman, President Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) 
  • Eddie Sprecco, Chief Executive Director Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter
  • Emily Cohen, Executive Vice President United Contractors 
  • Tracy Hernandez, Founding CEO Los Angeles County Business Federation

Click here to read more at the Sacramento Bee. 

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