Gaines criticizes gas tax increase

State Board of Equalization Member Ted Gaines issued the following statement on the July 1 gas tax increase of three cents per gallon:

“California already had among the highest gas taxes in the country before the state legislature passed SB 1 and essentially guaranteed increasing gas taxes every year. But we also had some of the worst roads. That’s a rotten combination for taxpayers, who have gotten no value from their government.

“Before raising taxes a single penny, legislators should have reformed labor and environmental rules that make California road building so incredibly expensive compared to other states. They should have redirected the billion dollars a year of diverted weight fees to road maintenance and construction. And they should have prioritized practical road building over high-speed rail service that most drivers will never use but will pay for.

“But instead of reforms or cost savings, they just reached their hands deeper into taxpayers’ wallets.

“Three cents a gallon might not break the bank itself, but when you add it to our highest-in-the-nation sales tax, astronomical rents and housing costs and electricity rates that are 50 percent higher than the national average, it adds up to a cost-of-living nightmare for California families and businesses.

“With California’s unemployment rate at its highest level since the Great Recession in 2010, I can’t imagine a more ill-advised time to make daily life even more expensive, when families are simply trying to pay rent and keep food on the table.

“California politicians shouldn’t be filling up their own tanks while family budgets are running on empty. Drivers were already paying nearly 80 cents a gallon in combined state and federal taxes before today’s increase. We can build better infrastructure and a brighter future for our state with existing revenues and without higher taxes, at the pump or anywhere else.”

Ted Gaines represents 10 million people across 30 counties as the Board Member for the First Equalization District.