The Daily Aztec

The CA gas tax is regressive. Vote ‘yes’ on Prop 6

by Miles Streicek, Contributor

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In April 2017, Josh Newman, a Democratic State Senator who has since been defeated by the Republican Ling-Ling Chang, a Taiwanese immigrant, was the deciding vote to enact a disastrous increase in California’s gas and car registration taxes.

After being signed off on by Gov. Jerry Brown, the new law created a flat tax increase of 12 cents per gallon of gasoline and 16 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.

Along with that came an increase in the car registration fee from $25 to $175 dollars.

But, if Proposition 6 passes on Nov. 6, this tax will be repealed.

Taxes structured like this are considered regressive, meaning it affects people more, the less wealthy they are. 

A millionaire at the pump is still paying the same 12 cents per gallon as someone who can barely afford to drive is paying.

To make matters worse, this money is being taken away from those who are struggling the most and being used for something we were already supposed to have the funding for from previous tax increases.

This isn’t right, it’s a scam, and as Californians, we need to stick up for ourselves.

Luckily, by voting yes on Prop 6 to repeal this tax, we can do just that.

The issue that sticks out day after day for most Californians is the sorry state of our roads and freeways. Everyone sees this, and everyone knows it’s something that must be solved before it seriously impacts our economy’s ability to grow and everyone’s ability to get where they want to go.

So Democrats in Sacramento would have you believe they have the solution: that you and I have to fork over more money at the pump. That it will be a small price to pay, and a necessary one, for California’s future. Because all the money raised by the tax would, theoretically, go toward fixing potholes and building more infrastructure.

Jerry Brown, Josh Newman and the entire Democratic establishment would have you believe punishing California’s more vulnerable people is a necessary evil.

But that’s what they said last time they raised gas taxes for the same exact reason.

(Spoiler alert: they lied.)

After the last gas tax increase, which is still in effect with us paying a total of 95.5 cents per gallon including the recent increase, some roads were built and repaired.

Albeit, a fraction of what was planned and spending an average of 2.5 times what other states spend for every mile of road.

Another billion of the tax money was illegally transferred to the general fund, meaning it could be used for any government expense and much of the rest was funneled into slush funds or otherwise wasted.

The money may as well have been incinerated.

They say it won’t be like last time and that the promises will be kept, but this tax increase has the same loopholes as the last, plus one that doesn’t actually require the taxes to be used for roads.   

The worst part is this was passed without a vote from the people or a single vote from any Republican state legislator. This was possible because up until Ling-Ling Chang took the Fullerton-Yorba Linda State Senate seat, the Democratic party had a supermajority, meaning any law could be passed by them, even a change to the State Constitution, without any support whatsoever from anyone outside the party.

That’s more like oligarchy than democracy.

Picture if you will, a single mother with several kids. She works two jobs and has to pick up and drop off her kids from school, all of which is beyond walking distance and with spotty public transit.

She is barely scraping by. But now with the gas tax increase, prices at the pump are even higher. This means she’ll be deciding between gas and food or gas and school supplies for her children.

That’s the kind of person who is most affected by this regressive tax. There are thousands of people in this situation, they can’t afford an extra 12 cents per gallon.

Neither can many of our commuter students. Many of them commute from North County or South Bay and are going broke struggling to pay for both ever-increasing tuition and ever-increasing gas prices.

On November 6th, even if you don’t drive, come to the polls and vote yes on Prop 6. Your vote will tell rich politicians they can’t take from the poor and enrich themselves.

Demand they use tax money wisely and not take the hard-earned pay from Californians for granted.

Because, if Prop 6 fails, they’ll know they can get away with taking advantage of the poor, and it won’t stop any time soon.

But if it passes, our gas prices will decrease significantly and every gas tax increase for now on will require a vote by the people. A yes vote is a vote for democracy and a vote for our poor and struggling brothers and sisters.

Miles Streicek is a sophomore studying finance.

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