The cost of gasoline continues to spiral out of control. Gas prices rose by 38% last year, fueling overall inflation, which rose by 7.9%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that was the highest inflation rate in 40 years, and unfortunately, there is no end in sight.
Californians need relief now. One immediate step would be suspension of the state’s 51.1 cent per gallon gas tax, the nation’s highest. There is no need to wait for future rebates; we’d all get relief every time we fill up.
Previous attempts to suspend the gas tax have failed due to the political majority’s opposition in Sacramento. However, a new effort may bear fruit. Last week, California Problem Solvers Caucus (CPSC) of which I am a member, unveiled a plan to suspend the gas tax immediately and ensure 100% of the savings are passed to drivers. Under this proposal, a 12-month gas tax holiday would take immediate effect. All lost transportation revenues would be backfilled from the state’s General Fund, using our huge budget surplus to ensure that highway/transportation programs remain fully funded. The proposal would require merchants to pass 100% of the savings back to consumers.
The CPSC is a bipartisan group of legislators from both houses. The Caucus promotes commonsense solutions to the most pressing issues facing our state. With escalating costs crushing low and middle-income Californians, this issue is critical and must be addressed now. This is especially true in rural/semi-rural areas like the 75th Assembly District where high housing costs force many workers to commute an hour or more to work every day.
I’m proud to join my CPSC colleagues advocating for immediate relief for hard-pressed California workers simply trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.