Voters in California this fall will get the final word on whether they want to keep vehicle tax and fee increases imposed a year ago.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a year ago a 10-year, $52 billion transportation funding deal to benefit state and local roads, trade corridors, and public transit. Senate Bill 1 passed the Democrat-led statehouse without a vote to spare.
As of Nov. 1, 2017, the new law increased the diesel tax by 20 cents and raised the gas tax by 12 cents. Other vehicle fees in the deal went up Jan. 1, including an increase from 4 percent to 5.75 percent in sales tax applied to diesel purchases.
The additional taxes and fees do not end there. Another 7.5-cent gas tax increase is scheduled to occur in July 2019.
All tax and fee rates are also indexed to inflation to allow for increases in future years.
Since last fall, a Republican-led group worked to obtain signatures as part of a ballot initiative to repeal the tax and fee increases.
The California Secretary of State has announced the group obtained the required 585,000 valid signatures to qualify the repeal question for the November 2018 statewide ballot.
Some Republicans say the tax and fee increases put too much of a strain on lower and middle class residents. They add that past fuel tax revenues have gone for other programs – a trend they expect to continue.
The Democratic governor has said the tax and fee increases are necessary to address a $130 billion backlog in deferred in road maintenance. He is defiant about the repeal effort.
According to the Los Angeles Times, polls show California voters want to kill the new tax.
Passage of the citizen vote would also amend the state’s Constitution to prevent any future increases without a statewide vote.
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