SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today issued the following statement regarding his vote against Senate Bill 1, the $52 billion transportation tax proposal that imposes permanent new gas taxes and user fees on motorists:
“There seems to be some confusion in the legislature about the war on poverty. We should be fighting to end it, not create it. But with this new gas tax we will be serving up poverty by the gallon to millions of families and businesses around the state.
“I think about CEQA-driven housing prices, green energy mandates pushing our electricity rates up 50-percent above the national average, and now this bill will jack up the cost of owning and driving a car.
“It’s like there is a legislative contest to see how expensive we can make staple goods and how unlivable we can make this state for the poor and middle class. We aren’t taxing champagne and caviar. Transportation is a basic need to live and work and raise a family.
“And how are the people supposed to believe that this money will actually go to transportation? This state is already diverting a billion dollars in weight fees away from our roads every year. CalTrans is overstaffed by 3,500 people wasting $500 million of road money every year. Why would anyone believe that this regressive new tax won’t be diverted to pay for the High Speed Rail boondoggle?
“For years we’ve starved transportation when we’ve had many billions in surplus, even though it was supposedly a ‘system in crisis.’ I guess the real crisis was that our gas taxes, which are always among the highest in the country, were not the absolute highest. Well, crisis averted. After this, our gas taxes will be second to none.
“Why can’t we focus on making this state more affordable? That is what we should be doing to help Californians struggling to get by.”