Senate Democrat-majority committee rejects legislation to lower gas prices $1 a gallon

Republican Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones said Democrat lawmakers are too selfish to suspend state taxes and fees to help Californians who are struggling to make ends meet.

According to a statement from Jones, “Today, California Democrat lawmakers on the Senate Environmental Committee rejected a measure by Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones to lower gas prices by $1 per gallon immediately. Leader Jones’s bill would suspend state gas taxes and fees, which would result in the immediate price reduction.”

Senator Brian Dahle said, “I appreciate you for bringing the bill forward to have the conversation…I think we need to have this conversation to actually try to drive the costs down for Californians.”

“California Democrat lawmakers supposedly claim they care about high prices at the pump,” said Jones. “But when given the opportunity to immediately cut costs by $1 per gallon of gas, these Democrat lawmakers are too selfish to suspend state taxes and fees to help Californians who are struggling to make ends meet. Our measure has bipartisan support across the country—even President Biden came out in favor of states suspending their gas taxes. When prices skyrocket to over $5 per gallon this summer, thank a Capitol Democrat for selfishly refusing to take action and passing my bill.”

As of April 19, 2023, gas prices in California are $4.91, which is more than $1 more per gallon of gas than the national average. While Governor Newsom jammed through his proposal that will increase gas prices by raising gas taxes, Leader Jones offered an alternative approach to actually lower gas prices. Jones’s Senate Bill 32 would suspend the state’s gas taxes and fees to lower gas prices by $1 per gallon. This would bring immediate relief to Californians at the pump when many are struggling to afford high gas prices.

Specifically, SB 32 suspends $1 per gallon of state gas taxes and fees for one year. Current programs — with the exclusion of the High Speed Rail — will continue receiving funding from these taxes and fees by being backfilled from the General Fund. This measure requires the $1 per gallon in savings to be applied directly to the consumer. SB 32 is coauthored by the entire California Senate Republican Caucus.

The 2-3 vote that stalled SB 32 fell along party lines with Senators Brian Dahle and Janet Nguyen voting in favor of the measure while Senators Lena Gonzalez, Caroline Menjivar and Nancy Skinner voted no. Senators Ben Allen and Monique Limón did not vote. SB 32 was granted “reconsideration,” so it can be brought up again for a second vote before April 28.

Senator Ben Allen said, “You’re right to bring up the fact that this (gas tax) is a part of the gas cost too and I know you (Jones) are trying to highlight that issue with this bill.”