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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Judge Rules Against CA Air Board In Important Diesel Regs Case

Californians just found out this week the new gas tax initiated by the California Air Resources Board, is 10 cents per gallon of gas. However, it will grow.January 1, California began including transportation fuels – gasoline, diesel and propane – in the nation’s first carbon emission cap-and-trading scheme. However, no other state or country in the world has attempted to regulate the sale of gasoline and diesel under a cap-and-trade program, and byAB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act,which requires cutting greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by year 2020.

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Katy Grimes

California Attempts to Regulate the Sale of Gas Under Cap-and-Trade

On Monday, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers announced the introduction of theAffordable Gas for California Families Act,legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource Board’scap-and-trade program.

“We struck a nerve!” Patterson told me. Patterson said he was surprised at the media response, and how many in the media did not know the gas tax is starting Jan. 1 – next month.

Patterson is working on issues like the gas tax,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Lawmakers Propose Exemption For January Gas Tax

California, the state obsessed with being first at everything, is aiming to add another first to its record books — Not content to be the first state in the country to tax the air we breathe, California will be the first in the nation to impose a cap and trade tax on transportation fuels.

In response, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers, announced Monday, the introduction of theAffordable Gas for California Families Act,legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource Board’scap-and-trade program.

The move afoot by the radical left to strip Americans of their cars under the guise of environmentalism, knows no bounds.

With the second highest gas taxes in the country, and a flailing cap and trade program, whose only trading partner is Quebec,California is already paying the price.

While the rest of the country is currently enjoying lower gas prices, Californians will be faced with a hefty new… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California’s Gas Tax Nightmare

California taxpayers don’t have to fall sleep to have a nightmare. They experience one each and every day when they encounter a costly, confusing and constantly-changing tax system. Unfortunately, most efforts to change this system only make matters worse.

Take the gas tax, for instance.

California consumers currently pay 71 cents per gallon in taxes every time they fill up their tanks. That’s the highest gas tax rate in the country. The average American pays less—about 50 cents per gallon. That translates into hundreds of dollars a year in higher taxes for Californians.

Adding insult to injury, Californians are double taxed for gas. Sales tax is calculated after excise taxes have already been added. That means we pay a tax on a tax, which is just plain wrong.

Double taxation aside, most California motorists wouldn’t mind paying high gas taxes if it meant we could drive the nation’s finest roads. But that’s not how things work. Instead of seeing our tax dollars invested wisely, we’re constantly told we should pay more. Our freeway system, once the envy of the world, has become an embarrassment.

Further complicating matters, in… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Cut is Good News for California

Today, I joined my fellow Board of Equalization members in a 5-0 vote to lower the gasoline excise tax 3.5 cents per gallon as of July 1, 2014.

Our vote today is good news for California taxpayers. This much-needed tax relief will arrive as Californians are on the road for summer vacations.

Lower gas taxes are good for our economy and good for jobs, but even with this cut Californians will continue to pay one of the highest gas taxes in the nation.

Unfortunately, some in the Legislature want you to pay more taxes, rather than less. Just last week a leading lawmaker proposed raising your gas tax by up to 43 cents per gallon.

Rather than plotting to raise taxes at a time when the state is already awash in cash, lawmakers should be finding ways to simplify our tax laws and make life easier for California taxpayers.

Lawmakers could start by scrapping the confusing and complicated gas tax formula they enacted in 2010 and replacing it with one that is simple, straightforward and easy to understand.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

BOE to Consider Proposed Gas Tax Cut

At our next meeting, the Board of Equalization will consider and vote on a staff proposal to reduce the gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

This proposed gas tax cut will give Californians a much-deserved tax break and help lower travel costs this summer. It has my full support.

Although I’m pleased the tax will go down this year, it’s unfortunate that California will continue to have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.

California has a confusing and complicated gas tax scheme that was imposed by the Governor and Legislature in 2010 over my objections. The BOE did not create this tax scheme.

Taxes are hard enough to accept, but when they can’t be simply explained, it erodes public confidence. This tax scheme is so complicated even expert tax professionals have a hard time understanding it.

Taxpayers deserve a simple and straightforward tax system that they can easily understand and won’t take them by surprise. They have the right to know how much they’re paying and where those dollars are going.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Hike Based on Guesswork

A 3.5 cent per gallon increase in California’s excise tax on gasoline takes effect July 1. As a result Californians will be forced to begin paying the highest gas taxes in the nation.

You have a right to be angry and demand explanation from your elected officials.

I too am upset and frustrated by this tax increase, which stems from a complicated law known as the ‘fuel tax swap.’

The goal of the fuel tax swap wasn’t good tax policy. Instead, its sole purpose was to allow the Legislature to move more than a billion dollars in gas tax revenues into the state’s General Fund.

I voted against the fuel tax swap. I also voted against the 3.5 cent per gallon rate increase that takes effect July 1.

Although the Board of Equalization must implement the law as written, a certain amount of discretion comes into play. Most of the July 1 increase is based on uncertain projections of future gas prices.

I don’t think we should be in the business of raising taxes based on guesswork.

A video of Runner questioningRead More

Congressman John Campbell

Episode VI: Infrastructure

I mentioned in Episode V that infrastructure is important to secure and grow manufacturing. In fact, it is essential. You must be able to transmit energy, move goods and services, and have access to water and internet and all kinds of things in order to have an efficient manufacturing process. Regardless of what you are producing, infrastructure is key. And, at the risk of adding to the overusage of this trite phrase, our infrastructure is crumbling. One needs only to drive one’s car in Washington, DC or Los Angeles, California (as I do frequently) to feel that infrastructure crumbling beneath your tires. Our support systems in DC, LA, or wherever you live are in bad shape because the priorities for federal spending have shifted over the last 50 years. Social programs now eat up the bulk of government spending at the federal, state, and local levels. The cost of these social programs crowds out what used to be spent on infrastructure. In some cases, taxes or fees that were sold as “user fees” to pay for infrastructure have been diverted for social programs or used to try to maintain exorbitant government employee pensions. My home state of California has… Read More

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