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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

The Road to Caltrans is Pitted With Potholes

As the California Legislature returned from summer recess yesterday, top on most political insiders’ minds is Gov. Jerry Brown’s special legislative session to increase taxes through approval of a group of transportation bills. Brown and Democrats claim the tax increases are needed ostensibly to improve California’s deplorable roads and crumbling bridges, long neglected by Caltrans. However, it was Brown who failed to properly fund transportation needs through the new budget –the largest state budget in California history.

Sen. John Moorlach R-Costa Mesa, says the “transportation” special session appears to be an… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California Needs a Simpler Gas Tax, Not a Higher One

My latest op-ed as seen in The Sacramento Bee.

With prices at the pump heading back up, news of a possible cut to the state’s gas tax will surely cheer California drivers.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Equalization will consider a proposal to cut the state’s gas tax by 7.5 cents a gallon. The proposal stems from a complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010.

While California drivers will surely welcome news of a possible cut, there are some who would rather see gas taxes go up. They think you should be sending more dollars, not fewer, to Sacramento.

But let’s be honest, government already has more than enough of your dollars. Californians pay about 64 cents per gallon in taxes and fees – the second-highest rate in the nation. In reality, we have the nation’s highest gas tax once you include the new hidden gas tax imposed by regulators to help fund the state’s anti-global-warming efforts.

Californians must even pay taxes on their taxes. That’s double taxation – and it’s wrong.

California’s gas tax is so confusing… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Falling Gas Prices Mask Hidden Tax

So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?

Due to high taxes and costly regulations, our state’s gas prices are higher than other states. It’s been that way for years.

But what’s new is that the gap between California’s and other states’ gas prices has grown.

To get a sense of the change, compare California gas prices with those of the nation as a whole. According to GasBuddy.com, even while overall prices have fallen, the gap has grown from about 32 cents per gallon just a month ago to as much as 47 cents this January.

That’s a 15 cent increase in just one month!

The likely culprit is a new “hidden gas tax” that took effect January 1. The new regulation expands the state’s cap-and-trade program to include transportation fuels. The expansion is the latest in a series of sweeping and costly regulations developed by the California Air Resources Board as it implements the California Global Warming Solutions Act.

Luckily for the Governor and his Air Board appointees, gas prices barely budged when the new rule kicked in; in fact,… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Senator Dutton to Author Gas Tax Cap

I’m pleased to report that Senator Bob Dutton is stepping forward to fight for California consumers who are sick of high gas prices. Lawmakers like to complain about high gas prices. Now they have a chance to do something to help.

The legislation, which I am sponsoring, will cap the state excise tax on gasoline at 35.7 cents and limit sales tax to the first $4.00 per gallon of gasoline. It would also cap diesel taxes at their current levels.

Most Californians don’t realize they’re already paying about $10 in tax each time they fill up their gas tank. Without a cap, that number could get even worse.

Should the average annual fuel price rises just one dollar—from $4 to $5 per gallon—the typical California consumer would be forced to pay 8 cents more in taxes per gallon. For most consumers this would translate into a $1 or more in additional tax for each tank of gas.

As a whole, California consumers would be burdened $1.4 billion more in gas taxes each year – on top of the nearly $7 billion in taxes they are already paying.

According to the… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Fix It: Episode III

Fix It: Episode III – The episodic thing makes me feel like I am writing the next Harry Potter or something. OK, enough fantasizing. On to the real stuff.

Energy: The “fix” for our energy problems is actually one of the simpler ones. And, the reason it is simple is not because of any action of Congress or the President. It is not even because of our founding fathers. It comes from God.

This country is blessed with enormous natural resources. We have more coal than any other country on earth. We can make electricity from coal. We also have enough natural gas, by some estimates, to last us for a century. We make electricity from natural gas. We have a number of nuclear plants that generate electricity and we can build more. And, we have rivers to create hydroelectric power which can be harnessed to create more power should we need it. I have just described four sources that currently create more than 90% of all the electricity in this country. And, we can expand them all if we want or need to without importing anything from any other country.

But, you say, you haven’t mentioned anything about our… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Fix It

There are a lot of things messed up in America today. On this, there is pretty much universal agreement. We have no energy policy, no manufacturing policy and an antiquated tax code that is complicated and inefficient. We are facing crushing deficits and debt that will soon lead to a European-style collapse. The economy continues to be weak and fewer people are working today than over 3 years ago when Barack Obama was sworn in as president. So many people have become discouraged that the number of people working or trying to find work is the lowest percentage of the eligible workforce since back in the Jimmy Carter recession days. The critical housing market is stuck, gas prices are high and going higher and the costs of our health care system keep rising and reform is needed. The public’s confidence in Congress and the President is low, perhaps even at an all-time low, and there is little trust out there for major institutions, be they public or private. We are mired in a seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan even as we face new and changing threats all around the world.

Makes you want to fill your bathtub with beer and go drown in… Read More