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Backers Of Initiative To Repeal California's Gas Tax Begin Gathering Signatures

A San Diego gas station worker poses holding a gas nozzle, March 9, 2011.
Associated Press
A San Diego gas station worker poses holding a gas nozzle, March 9, 2011.
Backers Of Initiative To Repeal California's Gas Tax Begin Gathering Signatures
Backers Of Initiative To Repeal California's Gas Tax Begin Gathering Signatures GUEST: Rob Nikolewski, energy reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

This is KPBS Midday Edition I Maureen Cavanaugh. Gas tax repeal kicked off today. Call DeMaio is leading an effort together signatures to repeal the new tax and make it harder for any future gas tax to be enacted. I spoke to Rob Mc Alexi energy supporter at the Tribune. Rob thanks for joining us.Good to be here.We have already started paying the new gas tax. How much has it added to the gas now .right now, it is in the process of adding $.12 per gallon. That happened this month in November. By the time everything is said and done, there will be an additional six cents added onto the excise taxes because there are two separate excise taxes that go into the gas taxes. The bottom line is by July 2019, the gas tax will go up the excess tax to 47.3 cents per gallon. That is $.18 more than it was before the gas tax was passed back in April.Remind us how much money is it is it is expected to race.It is expected to raise $5.2 million per year over the next two years. The total package is about $52 billion. That is a pretty good amount of money.Reporter: The increases part of state legislation known as SP1. Supporters of that legislation say that money is badly needed.It is estimated that there is a 100 30 $130 billion backlog of replacement and repair projects. It's backed up at the states in recent years. A lot of people believe and a lot of drivers have indicated that California's roads and bridges and infrastructure needs a big upgrade.Carl DeMaio and other opponents, do they dispute the fact that California's roads and its infrastructure are crumbling?No, they do not. What they say is this is in their words a money grab. They .2 evidence that in the past that other states revenue projects and state taxes have been going to highway repairs at least supposed to be going to highway repairs but they get diverted. Their argument is that there is money out there if the state and politicians in Sacramento are able to be more frugal with their money and don't take this money and diverted.Just generally speaking it does not seem like enough hill crime to get people to support repealing attacks. Is this a tax. Is this one of two gas tax repeal that could be on next year's ballot?That is a good point. A lot of people have not grasped that. I think if you are out there and somewhat aware of political discussions here in the state of California, you are very much aware that there is an effort to repeal SB-1 this gas tax initiatives. But there are actually two of them. Carl DeMaio has one and Travis Allen who is a Republican from Huntington Beach and assemblyman who is running for governor. He has a ballot manager measure that he wants to put up as well. His measure is slightly different than DeMaio's. The DeMaio group wants to repeal SB-1, they also want to add the fact that anytime in the future, they want to put an amendment in the California Constitution that anytime there is a call to increase the gas tax, it has to go to voters first. The Allen measure only repeals SB-1 and it does not go any further than that.To add more politics to the mix, Republican Carl DeMaio is using his opposition to the gas tax to up and the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento. Tell us about that.Josh Newman and assemblyman Amber member in orange county, he voted in favor of SB-1 . Carl DeMaio and a number of other people have been trying to oust him to get a re-fall recall effort against the Assemblyman. That is still ongoing right now. This is part and parcel of a lot of different things that are happening in regards to SB-1.The signature campaign to repeal the gas tax has begun. How many signatures need to be collected and when do they need to be turned in?All total it is exactly 5080 5407 signatures from registered voters have to be turned in by March of next year in order for this repeal effort to go on to the books and the ballot box by November 2018.I have been speaking with Rob McCleskey reporter of the Tribune and Rob thank you.Thank you.

Backers of an initiative to repeal the recent increase to 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.

RELATED: California Gas Tax Rises 12 Cents To Pay For Road Repairs

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."

RELATED: San Diego Thanksgiving Day Gas Price Dipped But Still Highest Since 2013

The increases took effect at a time when wholesale gas prices were already on the rise, pushing the average price of a gallon of fuel over the $3 mark. The Automobile Club of Southern California reported that the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County Monday was $3.207.

DeMaio said he planned to aim for 585,407 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 ballot. Signature collection events are scheduled around the county. Information is available at www.ReformCalifornia.org.