SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Republican state lawmakers tried to force a vote to suspend California’s 51-cent gas tax on Monday as prices reach historic levels.
Some Democrats said the tax is needed, but Republicans said the state has the funds to break from it.
“I’m paying $100 every day,” said driver Daniel Leon.
Drivers, like Leon, are paying the highest-recorded gas prices ever in California. The average price statewide is about $5.74, according to AAA. Dropping the gas tax could save drivers 50 cents per gallon.
“This added burden, which is borne by Californians alone, is not the result of international political events. It is the result of our state’s political choices, and one of those choices is to tax gasoline more than any other state,” said Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin.
Republicans who rallied at a Shell gas station in Sacramento presented lawmakers with another political choice later at the State Capitol. Because the measure has yet to have its first hearing, they tried to force a floor vote in the Assembly on the proposed gas tax holiday.
Lawmakers in that house, however, rejected suspending rules to hear or debate it, with several Democrats not voting.
Democratic legislative leaders have said they have concerns with touching the state’s gas tax because they don’t want to take critical funds away from road repair, transit operations, jobs and other resources. They said they are hoping to provide some sort of tax relief to families and small businesses soon.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed sending money back to taxpayers in response to the rising gas prices.
Meanwhile, some drivers, like Leon, said they are not optimistic about getting relief from the pump anytime soon, with little faith in the Legislature.
“I would like to see it, but I wouldn’t count on it. They’re the ones that make the rules. They’re the ones who have the last say and whatever it is they say goes,” Leon said.
Democrats have yet to release specific details on their tax relief proposals. The measure to suspend the gas tax has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.