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Gas tax repeal efforts begin collecting signatures

Critics claim hike will cost families $700 a year

Gas tax repeal efforts begin collecting signatures

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Backers of an initiative to repeal the recent increase in the gas tax and vehicle registration fee began gathering signatures Monday in San Diego.

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox appeared at a kickoff event outside the studios of KOGO-AM (600). They said the hike will cost $700 annually per family, with no guarantee the revenue will be used for its intended purpose.

"Sacramento politicians really crossed the line with these massive car and gas tax hikes and we intend to give taxpayers the chance to reverse that decision with this initiative," said DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, a political action committee that opposes tax increases and 
proposes efficiency reforms to fix problems.

SB 1, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 28, increased the gasoline excise tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel fuel excise tax 20 cents per gallon, the sales tax on diesel to 5.75 percent, and raised the vehicle registration fee by $25 to $175, depending on the value of the vehicle on Jan. 1.

Brown said the revenue from the tax and registration fee increases will be used to repair roads, highways, and bridges and improve public transportation.

Fix Our Roads, a coalition of business, labor and transportation organizations, supported the bill.

"California drivers will have safer, less congested roads thanks to SB 1," according to the coalition. "Every single community in California will receive funding to make road safety improvements, fill potholes, and repair local streets, freeways, bridges, and overpasses. And SB 1 comes with strict 
accountability requirements to reduce bureaucracy and ensure funds only go to 
transportation."

DeMaio called the claims by Brown and Fix Our Roads that the money would be guaranteed to go to transportation-related projects a "bag of lies ... being peddled by the same politicians who raided our gas tax funds for years and diverted the funds away from road repairs."

"Not one single penny of the gas tax hike is earmarked for roads and the money comes with zero guarantees," DeMaio said. "Quite the opposite, SB 1 prohibits road capacity expansion."

His petitions would seek that any future tax hikes be approved by voters.

Assemblyman Travis Allen has also introduced a ballot measure that would simply get rid of SB 1. Allen has also announced he is running for governor in 2018. the Riverside County Republican Party has endorsed Allen's initiative.

Valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters -- 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election  -- must be submitted by May 21 to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

The petition can be found here.


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