While supporters of Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, have celebrated the legislation as a huge win for the state, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that former San Diego City Council member turned conservative talk radio host has held such signature drives all over Southern California. His goal, to repeal the tax.
People have responded enthusiastically.
The Legislature’s increase in fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees is projected to raise roughly $5.4 billion a year for everything from highways to roads to bridges to public transit to sidewalks and gutters.
“This is a real and focused investment in our transportation and roadway infrastructure locally and across the state, for the first time in decades,” said Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who replaces Kevin de León in March as state Senate President Pro Tem. “Residents will soon see real, tangible benefits from their investment.”
As millions of dollars from the tax increases are set to start pouring into city and county coffers at the end of January, DeMaio has nearly gathered the 585,407 signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.
If successful, the measure would roll back the hike on fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, as well as require a public vote for any such future increase.
For decades, elected officials in Sacramento diverted money from several transportation accounts. Under governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger the state borrowed revenue from transportation accounts to patch holes in the general fund budget following the dot-com crash.
Roughly $3.39 billion between 2001 and 2005 was borrowed from transportation accounts predominantly for highways and roads that were funded by fuel taxes, according to the California Department of Transportation.
Separately, about $1.5 billion in weigh-in fees paid by truckers that go to the State Highway Account have been used to pay debt service on transportation bonds.
If the diversions were so insignificant as state leaders suggest, why then does California have a $137-billion backlog in transportation maintenance?
In the end, the debate about raising taxes in California continues. The repeal, if successful, will just be a speed-bump that the progressives running the state will no doubt overcome over time.
If you don’t like high taxes to fund poor government, you probably should not live in California.