California Republicans failed in their attempt to suspend the state’s gas tax, which is the highest in the nation.
California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley introduced Assembly Bill 1638, a proposed legislation that would have paused the state’s gas tax for a half-year, but it failed a party-line vote in Sacramento, ABC report.
“We are offering the legislature the chance to be on the side of hard-working Californians by suspending the state gas tax in its entirety,” said Kiley before the vote.
In the proposal, the 51 cent tax on gas sold in California would have been temporarily removed, which Kiley said brings in about $4 billion of funds that the state uses for transportation construction and maintenance.
“We have a $65 billion surplus here in California, so we can backfill that money,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher.
Gas tanks hold on average 14 gallons, so pausing the tax would save drivers $7.14 every time they fill up.
The governor proposed suspending the upcoming gas tax increase, which is expected to be around 3 cents a gallon on July 1.
Last week in his State of the State address, Newsom suggested keeping the gas tax in place, but reimbursing individual Californians through rebate checks.
“I’ll be submitting a proposal to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices,” Newsom said in the address.
When asked on Monday about the Republican idea to temporarily halt the whole gas tax, Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director wrote, “the Republican’s proposal can be manipulated to help line the pockets of petro-dictators and oil companies who are benefiting from the spike in oil prices across the world. The governor has proposed a tax rebate to provide billions in direct relief to Californians who are suffering from rising gas prices across the country, a direct result of [Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s] war.”