California’s new gas tax hike to pay for road improvements pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats could go before voters for repeal.
Travis Allen, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County, filed the proposed 2018 ballot measure to eliminate the $5.2 billion annual package to fund road improvements.
On Thursday, Allen launched a website asking for contributions of $5 to help him gather the 365,880 signatures from registered voters to place the repeal before voters. Allen can begin to gather signatures once the state attorney general issues a title and summary for his repeal.
“If we work together a $5 dollar investment today will save you thousands in the long run,” Allen wrote on the site.
Allen is proposing a diverse stream of possible funding sources, including tribal gambling revenue, to replace the tax.
Senate Bill 1, signed by Brown last week, raises road repair funds through a 12-cent gas tax increase that begins in November, a new fee based on vehicle value and other means over a decade to pay for road maintenance and repairs, public transit and other projects.
The coalition of labor unions, local governments and business groups under the banner Fix Our Roads issued a statement calling the transportation package an example of addressing the important issues Californians care deeply about.
“Californians are tired of driving on potholed, unsafe roads, stuck in traffic,” the group said. “Voters strongly support additional funding to fix our state and local transportation infrastructure. It’s hard to view this initiative as anything more than the same old obstructionist politics that Californians are tired of.”
Allen is proposing an initiative, which means the earliest the tax could be repealed is after the November 2018 election. Referendums, which allow the law in question to be halted until voters pass judgment on the repeal, cannot be used to repeal tax levies or measures that lawmakers passed with an urgency clause, such as the gas tax increase.
Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the "arrangements" he made with California lawmakers to secure passage of a bill that raises the gas tax for road repairs on April 6, 2017.
Gov. Jerry Brown on April 19, 2017 spoke with reporters about the gas tax increase to fix roads.