Let the gas tax wars begin.
Joining a pair of 2018 ballot initiative campaigns to repeal the gas tax, an independent expenditure committee is dropping radio ads against two Democratic lawmakers for their votes in support of Senate Bill 1, the $5.2 billion a year fuel and vehicle registration increase that takes effect Wednesday.
The ads, paid for by Family Farmers Working for a Better California, are against Assemblymen Joaquin Arambula of Fresno and Eduardo Garcia of Coachella. The lawmakers are on the hot seat for their votes to direct billions of dollars toward road and transportation improvements via a 12-cent increase in the base gasoline excise tax and an annual vehicle fee.
Both ads accuse the men of not “thinking about us” while enjoying lavish perks from their jobs in Sacramento.
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Rob Stutzman, the consultant running the information campaign, characterized the effort as a broad cross section of the agricultural industry putting lawmakers “on notice that they cannot continue to vote against the interests of farmers and farmworkers without the industry pushing back.”
The separate measures to repeal the gas tax, which is central to the Republican Party’s effort to drive up turnout and hang onto swing seats next year, are being led by the GOP’s choices for governor: Assemblyman Travis Allen and businessman John Cox. The latter’s measure is backed by GOP members of Congress and taxpayer groups.
The tax has also sparked a recall campaign against Democratic Sen. Josh Newman, who won in an upset last year in an Orange County district that Republicans covet. Last month, major backers of recently approved gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases sent letters to the Republican House delegation threatening political repercussions if its 14 members join a campaign to overturn the road repair funding plan.
Despite the warning over repercussions, the majority of California’s Republican congressional delegation said it will support an initiative to repeal the bill.
Existing: The base excise tax is 18 cents a gallon. A separate price-based excise tax is set at 9.8 cents a gallon, for a total rate of 27.8 cents a gallon.
Nov. 1: The base excise tax will increase to 30 cents a gallon.
July 1, 2019: The price-based excise tax will reset to 17.3 cents a gallon, about half-a-cent more than the rate the Brown administration projects will be in effect by then anyway.
The 47.3-cent combined excise tax in effect July 1, 2019, will be adjusted for inflation beginning July 1, 2020.
Average annual revenue: $2.4 billion
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NEWSOMENTUM? Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s campaign will receive an endorsement from longtime supporter and Secretary of State Alex Padilla at a union hall in Los Angeles. The anticipated 11 a.m. announcement will precede a meet-and-greet at the Laborers’ (LiUNA) Local 300 offices. It comes after Newsom won the support of the California Teachers Association last weekend.
Newsom and Padilla’s relationship goes back years. In 2009, before Newsom stepped aside for Gov. Jerry Brown to run, he picked Padilla to serve as his campaign chairman.
WATER WOES: California’s severe drought may officially be over, but the challenge of managing the state’s water supply is not. The Public Policy Institute of California hosts a half-day conference, featuring panels on legislative priorities, promoting healthy ecosystems and issues facing the Colorado River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, starting at 9 a.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on J Street.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Ever wanted to find out more about your family’s history? Bill Cole, a genealogist who dug into the California State Archives to learn about one of his relatives who committed an infamous Confederate stagecoach robbery in the final year of the Civil War, will discuss the incident at Bullion Bend. He’ll also share tips for using the archives to conduct research, 5 p.m. at the California State Archives building on O Street.
TPS SOS: Hundreds of thousands of Central Americans living in the United States may lose the “temporary protected status” they received while fleeing war or natural disaster in their home countries. As part of a campaign urging Congress to preserve the protected status, a coalition of labor, community and immigrant rights groups, including Los Angeles City Councilman and former lawmaker Gil Cedillo,will caravan from MacArthur Park to the Brea district office of Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, at 9:30 a.m. to deliver handwritten letters. Royce is among the seven California Republican congressmen that Democrats hope to defeat next year to take back the House. He is facing tremendous pressure over how closely to align with the Trump administration.
Christopher Cadelago: @ccadelago