State senators and Assembly members from Bakersfield recently voted against one of the largest tax increases in California history that will ensure it becomes more expensive to live, work and raise a family in California.
For example, a driver with a car value of $25,000, driving 15,000 miles per year averaging 20 miles per gallon, will pay an additional $190 annually beginning on Nov. 1 and $246 beginning on July 1, 2019.
Additionally, the gas tax will increase automatically beginning in the year 2020.
These calculations don’t include the high cost of mandated reformulated California fuel, the addition of illegal cap and trade taxes which could result in nearly a $1 per gallon increase when implemented.
Recently, our community was visited by the author of the gas tax, a legislator from the San Francisco Bay Area, who promised millions of dollars for our community despite no local legislative support for his proposal. As part of his road show, he told an audience of contractors that he was thinking about jobs in Bakersfield when he wrote this law, despite the fact that the vast majority of money from this tax will not be spent in the Central Valley. Some people will say anything to be popular.
Well, I am from Bakersfield, not from the Silicon Valley. We build, grow, produce and deliver products throughout the state. We generate the energy necessary to fuel the Silicon Valley and their ability to work from home as transportation costs rise.
Bakersfield’s economy is dominated by industries that require workers to be present. Crops require farmers and farmworkers, oil rigs require oil workers, haulers require drivers, and energy production requires mechanical and electrical engineers.
For too long, coastal elites from Los Angeles and San Francisco have dominated the legislature. Utilizing their dominance in Sacramento, they have become increasingly effective in forcing their point of view on Central Valley residents that do not have the same priorities, challenges or lifestyles as coastal residents.
From their point of view it was a good idea to move billions of dollars away from transportation projects and maintenance. For decades they systematically took transportation resources and spent them on non-transportation programs including passing laws designed to force people to live in crowded city centers to reduce the use of cars and trucks.
These ill-concieved actions have created this unavoidable and predictable crisis. They have ignored repeated Republicans attempts to use road taxes to actually provide good roads and safe bridges. What’s worse is they have ignored California’s voters who have voted for gas taxes for transportation projects, twice!
Now, the Democrats are traveling the state claiming they had no other choice but to raise taxes on Californians.
We do have a choice but the Democrats are unwilling to consider it. Republicans, led by Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, introduced a solution to fix our roads that does not raise taxes, ensures transportation dollars are used for transportation projects, and provides more opportunities to get more done with every dollar. This plan is a common sense way to ensure our roads and highways are safe and funded, without making California less affordable.
It is time for the coastal elites who control Sacramento to take a broader look at the world and understand that their actions have an impact on real people who pay taxes, commute to work, and raise their families. We will not be bullied or bought off in order to support bad policy. We want a California that is more affordable. We want policies that value the labors of all people by taxing them as little as possible and spending those taxes efficiently and effectively.
Enough is enough — nearly $60 billion in new taxes is not a solution to our transportation issues; it is another sign that the legislature’s priorities are out of touch and not in the best interests of the average Californian.