Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) raises the red flag about a hidden gasoline tax in his Capitol Comment for the week of August 18th, 2014.
Senate Republicans are working to stop this “hidden gas tax” that is supposed to take effect next January. Senate Republicans have sent a letter to the Governor and Democrat Leaders asking them to use their power and stop this tax that Californians didn’t vote for.
The tax is tied to California’s new “cap and trade” tax law — and could increase gasoline prices by as much as 76-cents per gallon. It could cost California families as much as $1000 per year.
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter @bobhuff99.
Here is the script for this week’s Capitol Comment:
I’m Senator Bob Huff – and this is my Capitol Comment for the week of August 18th, 2014
Senate Republicans are working to stop a “hidden gas tax” that most Californians aren’t even aware of, and it’s supposed to take effect next January. Today, my Republican colleagues and I sent a letter to the Governor and Democrat Leaders asking them to use their power and stop this tax that you didn’t vote for.
You might remember that two years ago, the California Air Resources Board – or the A-R-B – developed a cap-and-trade program that applies to 85% of the state’s economy. Cap-and-trade is a regulation that is designed to put a “price on carbon.” This means that an additional charge is included in most energy that is consumed in the state. By increasing the price of energy, environmentalists hope that consumers will use less. Environmentalists believe that doing this will reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The thing about climate policies such as cap-and-trade is that they are regressive. They hurt folks at the lowest end of the income ladder most due to the fact that lower income families spend a higher portion of their income on energy.
Now, starting in January of 2015, transportation fuels and natural gas will be subject to California’s cap and trade laws. That means that every gallon of gas sold in the state of California will include a cap-and-trade tax. In addition, all natural gas usage will include a cap-and-trade tax.
According to some studies, this increase will cost consumers as much as 76 cents per gallon.
The cost of this gas tax could be as high as $1,000 per year for every California family. That is money that could be going to pay for necessities like groceries, rent, or clothes for their children. Those higher gas prices will radiate throughout the economy.
California already has the highest gas prices in the nation. According to GasBuddy dot com, the average cost for gasoline in California is $4.12 per gallon and the national average is $3.68.
Currently, one in four Californians lives in poverty – the highest rate in the nation – and families are still struggling to recover from the great recession. If this regulation goes into effect, it will have direct and indirect impacts on all Californians. Even worse, it will especially hurt lower income families the most, making life much harder for those who can least afford it.
Our message to the Governor and Democrat leaders is this: take action now and don’t put this burden on those who can’t afford it.
There are solutions to stop this hidden gas tax from taking effect, and Senate Republicans offered options for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle:
First –they can support SB 1079 by Senator Andy Vidak. This measure will exempt transportation fuels — including gasoline, diesel, and natural gas-from the state’s cap-and-trade program, thereby stopping the hidden gas tax.
If not – there is a second option, AB 69 by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea. It would delay putting fuels under the cap-and-trade program until January 1, 2018. This bill has bipartisan support.
Finally, there is a third option: The Governor can exercise his executive powers to direct the Air Resources Board to exclude gasoline and diesel fuel from California’s cap-and-trade program.
Millions of Californians do not know about this hidden gas tax. They didn’t vote for it, they don’t support it, and they most definitely can’t afford it. The Governor and Democrat Leaders need to act as quickly as possible to resolve this issue. Any of the solutions that Senate Republicans have outlined are better than doing nothing.
Let me know what you think. I’m Senator Bob Huff. Thank you for joining me for my Capitol Comment.