I’m agnostic on the gas tax increase. Keep it or repeal it, I don’t care. It’s a relatively small tax increase that meets only a tiny fraction of the state’s massive infrastructure needs.

But there is a big reason to be skeptical of using a ballot initiative – Proposition 6 – to repeal the gas. For two reasons. First, a California ballot initiative can’t be changed except by another vote of the people.

Second, ballot initiatives often lump in extras. Unfortunately, Prop 6 does this.

Indeed, Prop. 6 doesn’t just repeal a law. It adds to the already overly long and complicated state constitution.

That makes Prop 6 a constitutional amendment. And that poorly thought-out amendment is likely to much more consequential than the gas tax increase, or repeal thereof.

The Prop 6 amendment would put an inflexible constraint on taxation; it simply wouldn’t allow the legislature to impose, increase, or extend any tax that had anything to do with gas or diesel fuel. That constraint makes effective policymaking almost impossible. And it doesn’t stop there—it would go further to bar the legislature from doing anything that affected “the privilege of a resident of California to operate on the public highways a vehicle, or trailer coach.”

The only way to do any of those things would be to have a majority vote of the people. So Prop 6 would produce more and more votes on even minor changes on gas taxes or driving.

Frankly, is repealing this gas tax increase worth creating more votes and adding to governing dysfunction?

The short answer; it isn’t. Repeal the gas tax if you like. But Prop 6 isn’t the way to do it.