20 Apr

The Great 2017 CA Gas Tax – Intro

This month, on 06 April 2017 specifically, California’s legislature finally had the temerity to pass much needed legislation in order to pay for our crumbling infrastructure. At last we will be able to have the transportation systems we deserve for the price of a few meager increases in fuel excise taxes, vehicle registration fees and a new $100/year tax on zero emission vehicles (as of 2020).

Those costs are nothing in the scheme of our annual tax bills and certainly an investment in today and tomorrow well worth making. Our esteemed legislators have told us as much countless times lately. The constant crisis of our roads always prompts the clarion call for more cash.

The final vote on SB1, the Great 2017 CA Gas Tax, came down mostly to party line with one (D) Senator & one (D) Assemblyman voting against it and one (R) Senator voting for the bill. The (R), showing his Art of the Deal chops, even managed to get some leniency for his own non-political profession while the (D) simply got himself booted off of his posh committee assignment. Lesson? It pays to fix Mah Roads.

Here in Senate District 29/Assembly District 65 we were smart enough to vote in Josh Newman (D) over Ling Ling Chang (R) & Sharon Quirk-Silva over Young Kim and thus we OC/LA/SB voters helped secure some of this much needed funding.

How much funding will we get? Oh we’ll get to that later as we drill deep into the depths of the Great 2017 CA Gas Tax™.

While it may be technically true that we pay some of the highest fuel related prices in America that is because our roads cost so much more to repair and maintain than any other roads. You can’t sit on the 405/55/91 or any other congested and clogged freeway for hours and not expect the weight of your car to do some damage to the asphalt and somebody needs to repair that damage you created.

With so many businesses abandoning our state instead paying their fair share it was only a matter of time before we had to find a new way to pay for things that cannot be done otherwise. Our state is in a sad state of disrepair and we all know it. Our roads are so bad that even Jamba Juice ran to Texas to escape the pot-holes and we know those health nuts power-walk everywhere.

But why a new gas tax? Because voters won’t let us tax their property any more thanks to Prop13. California relies on our Property Taxes for 25.4% of our General Fund so when that gets capped we have to find new sources of revenue. Our government does a lot of things and they don’t always pan out it’s true. Sure, every $1 in 3 for film subsidies went to productions that would have filmed here anyways but you have to take risks when spending other people’s money. If you need to see a big return in order to pay off huge CalPERS rates you can’t exactly be cautious prudent with taxes.

SB1, much to the dismay of many “taxpayer advocates” is genius and a first-of-its-kind solution to taxing thanks to it being tied to inflation. Everything is delivered via gas-powered vehicles which means that if we increase gas taxes we add to the cost of transporting it. Those added transportation costs then lead to higher costs to the consumers which is actually the definition of inflation:

Definition of inflation
2: a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services

So we create inflation by taxing a major factor of inflation and then we tie the tax to inflation so it increases itself. It’s the Perpetual-Motion-Tax™.

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