Too many residents of the Golden State are forced to choose between filling up the gas tank or putting food on the table. Some families are unable to travel and have adventures with their children on the weekends. In order to find affordable housing, often times working families have to live far from the city, paying outrageous costs just to commute. College students cannot afford gas to make the trip home to visit their families. Seniors living on fixed retirement incomes in rural areas are struggling to afford fuel to critical doctor appointments on a regular basis.
Californians from every corner of the state are struggling to afford the high cost of gasoline. In many places, the cost of fuel is now over $4 a gallon. The governor has responded to this crisis by requesting an investigation led by the California Energy Commission as to why fuel costs are so high. Using taxpayer dollars to fund this investigation is a waste of money.
For most, the answer is easy to understand. In 2017, the state gas tax increased due to legislation created and passed by Sacramento Democrats. Today California holds the title of having the most expensive fuel in the nation with the second highest state gas tax. At the pump, we now pay 80 cents in state gas taxes and fees; unfortunately, we will see another increase in July as well. Additionally, we pay income taxes on the money we use to pay gas taxes.
Sacramento Democrats have proposed to "help" Californians with the fuel crisis by launching an investigation, but at the same time, they are backing even more measures that will make things even worse. For example, they have proposed an additional oil tax.
Senate Bill 246 proposes to tax the oil industry when it takes oil out of the ground. The state already taxes the industry for oil when it is in the ground, and now they want to tax them when oil is taken out of the ground as well. This sounds like not only double taxation but also an extreme case of over taxation, which will eventually come out of your wallet.
We have a $21 billion budget surplus in this state, but Sacramento Democrats still want more. The majority party already taxes our air, gas and real estate transactions, among other things. This year alone they have proposed $15 billion in new taxes. The proposals range from the oil tax to water, soda, businesses, even a death tax. They even proposed taxing a modern-day communication tool: text messaging. Fortunately, the tax on text messages stalled, but I would not be surprised if they try again.
With 53 percent of Californians admitting they are considering fleeing to other states because of the affordability problem, you would think the majority party would be looking at how to help them. Instead, it continues to propose more policies that will only hurt Californians.
The Legislature is getting ready to pass the governor’s budget, and my Republican colleagues and I are fighting to stop new taxes and better manage our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
For many, California is not an affordable option, and the high cost of fuel only makes California even less affordable. Higher taxes and a taxpayer-funded investigation for something we already know the answer to will not help Californians; it will only make things worse.
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove represents California’s 16th Senate District which encompasses large portions of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties and including the cities of Bakersfield, Barstow, California City, Exeter, Frazier Mountain, Joshua Tree, Mojave, Needles, Ridgecrest, Rosamond, Taft, Tehachapi, Twentynine Palms, Tulare, Visalia, Yucca Valley and portions of the Kern River Valley. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.