A proposal for a second ballot measure to repeal a new 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax was filed with the state Thursday, with backers boasting that they’ve already gotten pledges from 200,000 Californians to sign the petition to qualify the initiative.
The gas tax — with an accompanying vehicle registration fee of about $50 for the average car — was approved by the state Legislature earlier this year to pay for $52 billion in transportation improvements over the next decade. The new gas tax begins Nov. 1.
“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 talk radio host and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, who is leading the effort. DeMaio is also heading up a drive to recall state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, for voting in favor of the tax hike.
The law, Senate Bill 1, says that Californians are paying $17 billion — more than $700 per driver — is extra car maintenance bills annually because of bad roads. But a May poll by UC Berkeley found that opponents of transportation package and accompanying tax out number supporters 58 percent to 35 percent.
Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, has already gotten a similar ballot measure cleared to gather petition signatures for qualification. However, he has put the gathering process on hold while he sues over the over the title given to the proposal by Attorney General Xavier Becerra. That title does not mention “gas tax” or “repeal,” which Allen believes should be clearly stated.
DeMaio says he has a broader based coalition than Allen, who’s made his ballot measure a key part of his dark-horse bid for governor.
“He’s been invited to join us several times,” DeMaio said. “I think folks should be focused on results and not advancing an effort fo higher office.”
Allen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One difference between the two proposed ballot measures is that Allen’s would be statutory law requiring 360,000 valid voter signatures, and DeMaio’s would be a constitutional amendment requiring 585,000 signatures. Allen’s could be subject to tinkering by the Legislature, according to DeMaio, which constitutional amendments cannot be changed without voter approval.
Additionally, DeMaio’s measure would prevent any future increases of motor vehicle and gas taxes without voter approval.