For weeks, California’s Republican minority has argued that the state wouldn’t need to raise gasoline taxes and vehicle licensing fees if it just used the money it already collected from existing revenues to pay for road construction and repair projects.
On Wednesday, a day before the state’s legislature vote on the increases, the Sacramento Bee analyzed comments by Republican leadership, in both the Senate and Assembly, about the proposed increases, and called them factually “iffy.”
Senate Bill 1 is set to be voted on Thursday, and is expected to gain approval from Democrats, who have super majority in the legislature.
One of the leading voices has been Bakersfield Assemblyman Vince Fong, who challenged the governor during a legislative hearing on Monday about the increases. Fong has argued that the tax increase is unfair to low-income and middle-income families, and wouldn’t be necessary if the state would spend the money it already takes in from the existing fees and taxes.
In the Bee’s analysis, written by reporter Jim Miller, they found the Republican claim misleading.
The allegation is misleading. It’s true that California governors and lawmakers – of both parties – borrowed heavily from transportation-related accounts after the dot-com bust and during the recession. But the amount of borrowing never amounted to the $5.2 billion a year this package would produce. And most of the money has been paid back. The rest would be paid back in three years if the package is approved.
During Monday’s session, Fong and Brown traded barbs about the proposed tax hikes, but Brown was dismissive of Fong’s questioning.