The rising cost of virtually everything is costing Californians dearly. March inflation surged to 8.5%, the largest increase in 40 years. This spike, driven largely by the cost of gasoline, made March the tenth straight month with inflation over 5%.
So what’s the solution? One important step would be to suspend our 51 cent per gallon gas tax, the nation’s highest. Not only is this a direct tax on those with the least ability to pay, it drives up the cost of all goods shipped on our highways – in other words – everything. Over the past 12 months, groceries rose 10% overall, with meats, poultry, fish and eggs increasing by 13.7%. According to a recent Bloomberg report, inflation will cost the average U.S. household $5,200 this year, or $433 per month. While average wages rose by 5.6% in March, inflation wiped out that increase and wages actually decreased by 2.7%.
Given these facts and our state’s huge budget surplus, you’d think Sacramento would jump at the chance to provide relief to overtaxed, hardworking Californians. But that’s not the case. In fact, legislation to temporarily suspend the gas tax was blocked and the bill was hijacked by the majority and transformed into an attempt to increase taxes!
Suspension of the gas tax is off the table, but a rebate to help defray the cost of gasoline is included in the Governor’s budget proposal. The amount of the rebate is unclear, it will take months to pass, and owners of the state’s 400,000 electric vehicles will be eligible for the “gas tax rebate,” even though they don’t pay the gas tax.
Californians need immediate relief. Inflation is making living in the Golden State impossible for many, and too many Sacramento legislators are refusing to take even a small step to help those who need it the most.