Notice the increase in gas prices recently? Normally, gas prices decrease a bit this time of year, due to the switch to the less expensive “winter blend.” The increase is an unwelcome surprise for many Californians, particularly those least able to afford unexpected increases to their monthly budget.

You might be asking yourself, “what changed?”

On Nov. 1, a plan to disproportionately increase taxes on the poor and middle class took effect. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators in Sacramento passed Senate Bill 1, also known as the “Road Repair and Accountability Act.” This bill, which was passed using legislative bribery, imposed much higher taxes, creating a direct burden on Californians who are least able to afford it.

As happens all-too-often, our politicians in Sacramento used deception to push through unpopular legislation. This time, it’s a 12.5 cent per gallon gas tax increase — 20 cents if you have the audacity to drive a diesel vehicle (including many vehicles used by California’s critically-important agriculture industry).

In addition to increasing the price Californians pay at the pump, SB1 also increased vehicle registration fees by as much as $175 per year. In all, it is estimated that SB1 will cost the typical California family about $779 per year.

In addition to burdening Californians with the direct costs of the gas tax, the increased price of transportation will lead to price increases on business owners who transport their goods. This will, of course, lead to higher prices on everything from apples to Zinfandel.

But at least much of this money will go to repair California’s crumbling infrastructure, right?


Proponents of SB1 claim that this tax increase on the poor and middle class will lead to “safer, less congested roads.” That’s just political rhetoric from the same special interests that stand to benefit from your tax dollars. Revenue generated by the SB1 tax increases will go into the state’s General Fund. This means that the Democrat majority in Sacramento can spend this money on anything they want — including the astronomically over budget high-speed rail boondoggle. In fact, the gas tax passed by the Legislature specifically prevents spending on new road capacity — the very thing that would reduce traffic congestion!

Even worse, there is no reform of Caltrans, to which the California-based Independent Institute awarded their Golden Fleece Award in the summer of 2016 saying, “With primary responsibility for highway maintenance projects in California, the irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and even lied to lawmakers to cover its tracks.”

Caltrans spends four times as much to build a mile of road as Texas does. It is not that we need more tax revenue, it is that we ought to spend the money we have more efficiently and without waste and corruption.

The good news is that we can stop outrageous tax increase, but we need your help.

I am chairing a committee to give Californians a voice in determining to put this gas tax repeal on the November 2018 ballot. This is a measure that won’t only repeal the tax increase, but make sure that it never happens again without a vote of the people.

Last week, tax-fighter Carl Demaio and I held press conferences in San Diego and Orange County to kick off our signature gathering efforts. The momentum is there, but we need your help.

If we can get this initiative onto the ballot, we will succeed in stopping this unfair and deceptive cash grab by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat majority in Sacramento. But first, we need 584,000 petition signatures.

That’s where you come in.

This short-sighted tax disproportionately hurts the poorest in our state, and is just one more example of why I want to rein in the out-of-control legislators in Sacramento. I hope you’ll join me in this cause, and in the many fights to come.

If you’d like to get involved, make sure to sign the petition when you see our volunteers out collecting signatures, and get your friends and family to do the same.

Together we can send a message to Sacramento, no more taxes without voter approval and reform of wasteful spending!

Originally published in the Orange County Register.