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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

California Blue Wave: Will it Lead to Insolvency Faster?

The midterm elections have turned out as most observers expected, nationally, statewide, and in Sacramento. By historical standards, nationally, the Democrats underperformed and lost a number of high-profile races. There was no Blue Wave – more like a blue ripple.

However, California is another story, remaining as blue as can be, and headed right into insolvency. In the contest for governor, California voters chose Democratic politician Gavin Newsom over Republican businessman John Cox, who is not a politician.

California goes ‘Full Nuthouse’ as my friendLeslie EastmanRead More

Katy Grimes

A Caravan Worth Following: ‘CAUTION: Fraud Ahead’ Tour

Despite the media’s romance with the caravaninvasion from Honduras and Mexico headed for the United States border, Jesse Rojas, President of Californians for Accountability PAC, is leading a legal caravan. Rojas is driving a box truck following the blue tour bus for gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom. Calling it the “Caution: FRAUD AHEAD Tour Rojas and company are warning of “Lost jobs and higher… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Board Votes to Cut State Gas Tax

Today, I joined a 3-2 Board of Equalization vote to lower the state excise tax on gasoline by 2.2 cents per gallon effective July 1, 2016.

Our vote was simply a matter of fairness. Californians overpaid gas tax last year because of a bizarre formula known as the ‘gas tax swap’ passed by lawmakers in 2010. Lowering the rate is the right thing to do, and I’m sure Californians will welcome this reduction.

Unfortunately, even after the cut goes into effect, Californians will still pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. What we need now is for lawmakers to simplify our tax laws and look for ways to provide value for the money that Californians send to government.… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Gas Tax ‘Unfair and Foolish’

The California Democratic Party claims to be for the poor and middle class, but killed a bill Monday which would have cut California’s highest-in-the-nation gas tax.Californians pay 68 cents tax on every gallon of gasoline – the highest gas tax in the nation.

Not content to be the first state in the country to tax the air we breathe, California is the first in the nation to impose a cap and trade tax on transportation fuels.

In response, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers, introduced AB 23, theAffordable Gas for California Families Act,legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Shouldn’t California Have the Best Roads By Now?

If high taxes guaranteed results, then California should have some of the best roads in the nation. For years we’ve had one of the highest gas taxes, yet our freeways consistently receive failing grades.

It makes no sense unless you admit that high taxes don’t guarantee good roads. That’s one of many reasons I had no trouble voting with my State Board of Equalization colleagues to approve a 6 cent cut to the state’s gas tax. Under a confusing and complicated law commonly known as the “gas tax swap,” the state has been over collecting tax dollars as gas prices have fallen. The new rate helps solve this problem.

Any tax cut is a rare bit of good news for overtaxed Californians. This gas tax cut also has the added benefit of partially offsetting the cost of a new hidden gas tax that took effect January 1 to help fund high speed rail and other so-called anti-global warming efforts.

California will still have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation, but even so not everyone is pleased to see the tax go down. In fact, some government officials are devising new schemes—like mileage taxes and road user fees—aimed at getting even more of your… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Gas Tax Vote

Today the Board of Equalization voted 5-0 to reduce the state’s gasoline excise tax rate by 6 cents, from 36 cents to 30 cents, effective July 1 of this year.

This gas tax cut, although less than originally proposed, is still good news for overtaxed Californians, who currently pay both higher gas prices and higher taxes than residents of other states.

Today’s vote stems from a confusing and complicated formula known as the ‘gas tax swap.’ The Legislature enacted the formula a few years ago in order to redirect more than a billion dollars of transportation funding elsewhere. Under the gas tax swap law, the Board must annually adjust the gas tax rate to guard against over collection of tax.

State revenues from fuel taxes reached a record $8.7 billion last fiscal year. Today’s vote will help correct the over collection of tax that is resulting from lower gas prices.

But even after this tax cut takes effect July 1, Californians will continue to pay more gas taxes and fees than residents in nearly every other state. In fact, the Board’s cut won’t even fully offset the cost of a new ‘hidden gas tax’ that took effect January 1 to help fund… 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

Response to Proposed Gas Tax Cut

On Tuesday, February 24 the State Board of Equalization will consider a proposed 7.5 cent per gallon tax cut.

A gas tax cut of this magnitude would be great news for California drivers, who are currently forced to pay one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.

The proposed cut stems from falling gas prices and the resulting over collection of tax.

Annual rate changes are required under a confusing and complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010 in order to move a billion dollars to the General Fund. Each year the Board of Equalization must adjust the gas tax rate to ensure the state receives neither more nor less revenue than it would have under the prior tax system.

I look forward to considering the proposed cut with my colleagues when the Board meets on Tuesday, February 24. We invite and welcome public feedback and participation.… Read More

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