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Senate OKs California tax, fee hike for roads

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Assembly and Senate Republicans released a joint statement on the plan unveiled by Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León to increase transportation taxes and fees by more than $5 billion annually.

Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon) voted "no" on the bill, citing concerns about SB 1, such as the fact that the 70 percent gas tax increase is the largest in history as well as the state's significant backlog of basic road repairs.

"Jerry Brown 1.0 was someone who didn't reach out - he didn't do politics", said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a veteran political analyst at the University of Southern California.

According to Brown the measure and become necessary after 23 years without a gas tax increase, that had led to a backlog of $130 billion in fix and replacement projects in the state.

The state Senate is tentatively scheduled to debate and vote on Senate Bill 1 this afternoon.

Session was delayed late into the evening as the Assembly waited, first for the Senate to approve the fuel tax increase and then for the return of Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who was taken to the emergency room earlier in the day for an undisclosed illness.

The bill was initially short three votes, with one Assembly Democrat, Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield, voting no.

Under Senate Bill 1, the new tax adds 12 cents to each gallon of gasoline you pump in California, and the legislation also increases diesel taxes and boosts vehicle license fees. He says he voted in favor after the governor promised that $500 million of the road repairs will be in Mr. Cannellas district and other parts of the northern Central Valley.

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"We do about 100 deliveries a week and we go all throughout L.A. County", he said. And next year they're supposed to be getting another 50 cents. All told, California motorists, who already pay among the highest gas taxes in the country, will now have to pay even more.

Brown and top Democratic lawmakers prevailed over environmentalists and anti-tax crusaders mustering the two-thirds support required to increase taxes.

Republicans in the Assembly argued the bill doesn't do enough to guarantee existing revenue is spent responsibly. “I cannot justify asking Californians to dig deeper into their pockets to fix our roads when we can get the job done with what theyve given us already.”. The state's Legislative Analyst Office said California's cap-and-trade program will raise gas prices by an estimated 63 cents per gallon in 2021 and 73cents per gallon in 2031.

Of that amount, $12.3 million would be available for use in unincorporated areas. The Orange County Democrat did not vote. Vehicle license fees would be raised an average of $38 per vehicle, and drivers would also face a new annual fee to be paid along with their vehicle registration, ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of their auto. Those increases would begin November 1, while the vehicle registration increase would be effective January 1. Cannella said he and Brown had hammered out a deal at the governor's mansion just before the vote took place.

"Even after a multi-million dollar lobbying effort supporting the $52 billion bill, sentiment in my district ran two-to-one opposing these new gas taxes and vehicle registration fees", he said. Electric vehicle owners will have to pay a $100 yearly fee.

Re: "Are California road repairs worth a tax hike?"

The package puts more than $25 billion into state coffers for everything from: $15 billion for local street and road maintenance; $7.5 billion for transit project and capital; and research on our roads at the UC and CSU system.

The bill raises gas taxes and creates a new annual fee for vehicle owners.

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