Posted by on June 21, 2022 6:34 pm
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California Dems ignore gas tax holiday to investigate high prices

Southbound traffic on Interstate 5 moves through Los Angeles, Sept. 1, 2006. Oral arguments were scheduled Friday Sept. 15, 2006, in a U.S. District Court regarding California's requirement that automakers reduce emissions. At issue is whether California has the right under the federal Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through tailpipe standards. (Nick Ut/AP)

California Dems ignore gas tax holiday to investigate high prices

Tori Richards June 21, 06:05 PMJune 21, 06:05 PM Video Embed

The California legislature, which has refused to sideline the state’s 51-cent gas tax, will now investigate why prices are so high, topping $7 per gallon in some areas.

This is the nation’s priciest petrol, with strict environmental mandates and high state taxes exacerbating the situation. But voters also approved a ballot measure aimed at creating a tax to fund freeway repair. These projects typically take more than a decade, bogged down by extensive red tape and environmental review.

The legislature also allowed a yearly increase in the tax to proceed by not creating a bill to stop it. The end result is consumers who watch prices tick up on a daily basis, with Wednesday’s total averaging $6.44 per gallon, AAA reported. The national average is $5.02.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R) once again called on the legislature on Wednesday to pass his bill creating a gas tax holiday. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has proposed issuing blanket rebate cards to drivers that do not take into account the miles driven by an individual.

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“Rather than taking meaningful action, today, Assembly Democrats announced the creation of a Select Committee on Gasoline Supply and Pricing to ‘investigate’ what can be done to bring down the price of gas,” Kiley said. “The first hearing will not convene for ‘a number of weeks,’ according to the announcement. Meanwhile, there is still no deal between the governor and legislative leaders on the best way to provide relief in the state budget.”

Kiley has tried since the beginning of the year to get traction on a bill that would create a temporary halt to the gas tax. The measure languished in committee until April, when he says it was hijacked and the language gutted to add a tax on Big Oil. The new bill eventually died, but the original is still intact, Kiley said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has proposed a moratorium on federal gas taxes that would save drivers more than 18 cents per gallon.

“The evidence shows that gas tax holidays in other states are giving consumers real savings. Even the president is now finally recognizing this is the best way to provide relief to struggling families,” Kiley said. “Rather than launching a new ‘investigation,’ Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders need to immediately suspend our state gas tax, which is almost three times higher than the federal tax.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) defended his position with regard to the bipartisan investigation into price gouging.

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“We have put ourselves in a situation because of our addiction to the gas-powered engine,” he said. “Yet that is no excuse for the actions of those who pin California drivers down with a foot on our necks and a hand in our pockets.”

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