SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The controversial gas tax has been in effect for less than a year and already voters may get the chance to repeal.
On Monday, both sides battled it out at the state Capitol and held press conferences back to back.
“Shame on the politicians for stealing our money for all of these years and not fixing our roads,” said Carl DeMaio with Reform California.
The gas tax took effect last November adding 12 cents to the gallon, raising an estimated $5 billion a year for roads and transportation.
“In the communities, going to work fixing roads, bridges, expanding transit operations. This money is being applied to improve and fix our transportation system,” said Roger Dickinson, Transportation California spokesman.
Opponents, including Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox who says the gas tax costs drivers too much and are trying to repeal it.
“When I’m the governor of this state, we are going to build a lot of roads, but we’re not gonna do it by raising taxes. We’re gonna start using our money efficiently,” Cox said.
One side is now claiming the other is breaking the law by posting signs on California roadways highlighting the gas tax.
The signs show road improvement projects where the gas tax money has been used.
So what is the law?
Under California Government code, officials cannot spend taxpayer money.
“..to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.” according to California Government Code 54964.
But the agencies say they’re simply trying to educate drivers what the money is being spent on.
Ultimately, voters may get a chance to decide the outcome in the November election.
“When they understand how this money is being used to benefit the transportation system and in their own lives and help their safety, I’m confident that we’ll win,” Dickinson said.
Proponents of the repeal have already collected nearly a million signatures. It’s currently under review before it’s officially placed on the November ballot.
“This dangerous measure threatens to stop this much-needed projects. It will make our roads worse, quality of life will be worse, and California will be a worse place to live,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director, League of California Cities.