SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Despite backlash, Gov. Jerry Brown is calling it a “smart plan,” but some drivers are blaming the government for the shortfall and feel they shouldn’t have to foot the bill to fix $52 billion in a new plan.
“I think we need to do more work to our roads, but I think there could be some other ways to finance it,” said Troy Estacio of El Dorado Hills.
Others are siding with the governor to up the tax.
“Absolutely, it’s a no-brainer,” said Susan Macculloch of Sacramento.
A spokesman for the Department of Finance said the gas tax collected from California residents all goes back into roads and transportation, but the governor claims it’s not enough.
“I’m telling you on God’s honest truth. We need it. If we don’t do it, the roads will crumble.” Brown said at a press conference.
According to the governor’s budget, nearly 55 cents on every dollar goes towards education, then health, and it’s not in the budget to fix the roads.
We asked an expert who believes there’s money the state could use instead of taxing more.
“There’s tens of billions of dollars right now that the legislature can move immediately to divert to things that the voters want and they are just choosing not to do it and pushing for taxes instead,” said Josh Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
He said the general fund spending in California has increased by $36 million and it doesn’t go to roads.
“For legislators to now go ahead after willfully disregarding serious and legitimate transportation infrastructure problems, to now pass that burden on to Californians with very regressive taxes and when 20% of the state is living in poverty and a majority of Californians don’t want it is simply inappropriate,” Wolfe said.
“You want to have a screwed up state? With a bunch of potholes, go ahead, but that’s insane. That’s insane.” the governor said.
However, Wolfe claims it’s scam on taxpayers who already paid the taxes.
“Voters are simply not buying what Governor Brown is selling here,” he said.
The governor has set a deadline of April 6 for a vote on the new package. That’s a day before the legislature leaves for its spring break.
He needs a two-thirds vote in both houses to pass.
Wolfe said it’s a permanent tax if it passes and voters have no recourse to reject it at the ballot box even after it passes.