Senate Bill 1 Will Hurt Small Businesses and Working Families

Tom Scott
CA Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

California is already the most expensive state in the nation to run a small business and raise a family. From the moment you wake up in the morning, get your cup of coffee, drive to work, work a long day, buy dinner for your family, and end your day, you have been hit with more taxes and fees than you count.

Small businesses are being suffocated by taxes and fees in this state. And who runs small businesses? Working families. And even though California is already the most difficult state to run a small business, Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leadership want to raise even more taxes on working families with Senate Bill 1.

SB 1 includes the largest gas tax increase in California history. Last year, Pennsylvania stole our crown as the state with the highest gas tax, but this bill would restore that title to California with 12 cent increase to the gas tax.

Additionally, SB 1 would raise the diesel tax by 20 cents, and create a new annual “Road Improvement Fee” which ranges from $25-$175 per year, with automatic annual increases. This fee is separate from and in addition to the existing Vehicle License Fee which we already pay every year to register our cars.

While we can all agree there is a dire need to invest in our roads and infrastructure, Californians already pay billions in taxes every year to fund these repairs. General fund tax revenues have grown by $36 billion over the last six years, but not a single new dollar has been invested in our roads. Sacramento already has the money to fix our roads, but instead of fixing their budget priorities, Governor Brown, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon are seeking over $5 billion in new taxes per year indefinitely, all while offering absolutely zero reform.

Governor Brown is also severely mistaken in claiming the only opposition to these taxes is political. NFIB represents 22,000 dues-paying small business owners across the state, who employ roughly 500,000 Californians. Each year we ballot our members on key emerging issues, and earlier this year we asked our members if they support raising various taxes to fund transportation repairs. 90% said they oppose these taxes.

The Legislature also has an obligation to uphold Proposition 54 and provide opportunity for our small business owners, and all members of the public, to analyze and provide testimony on this proposal. It is remarkable that the legislature has neglected our roads for decades, yet for some reason now feel we need to rush this multi-billion dollar tax through the process in just one week. This week, our 22,000 members will continue sending letters and calling their legislators, urging them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1 to stop the largest gas tax increase in California history. 

Tom Scott is the State Executive Director for NFIB California, which represents 22,000 dues-paying small business members across the state.

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