There is no denying our roads need help.
Gov. Jerry Brown admitted as much two years ago in his “State of the State” address when he acknowledged the state was $59 billion in arrears in road construction and maintenance.
Last week Sacramento Democrats passed a $52 billion gas tax claiming the funding will go to road construction.
When I came to the state Assembly in 2012 our state General Fund budget was $99 billion, and this year’s proposed budget is $125.2 billion. Yet the governor has not increased road funding by a single cent.
The Democrats publicly stated the $52 billion tax will go toward roads. That is not true. Only 60 percent of the funds will be applied to road maintenance, and there’s zero funding for expansion of lane capacity.
And like earlier transportation funding mechanisms, there are zero guarantees the funding will remain with roads.
The Democrats have super majorities in each house and occupy every statewide constitutional office. One Party Rule has led to a lack of accountability in Sacramento.
In 2012, Gov. Brown told us that all of Prop 30 taxes would be applied to education. That was not true.
We were told that 2006’s AB 32 taxes would be applied to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, it’s been used for social engineering programs or pet projects like the High Speed Rail Project – programs that have no nexus to the reduction of carbon.
Gov. Brown stated Prop 30 would be a temporary tax, but last year he spearheaded the effort to extend that tax by 12 years when he campaigned for Prop 55.
And Gov. Brown promised that any future tax increase would have to be ratified by a vote of the people, yet the Democrats just passed the largest gas tax in our state’s 166-year history without a vote of the people!
In the California 21st Senate District we have hundreds of thousands of commuters.
Every morning 100,000 people leave the Antelope Valley to travel down below to Los Angeles, many traveling over 100 miles a day each way.
In the Victor Valley, another 65,000 commuters head down the hill to jobs in the Inland Empire.
And in the Santa Clarita Valley another 50,000 commuters hit the I-5 and 14 freeways headed toward Los Angeles.
These ordinary Californians are compelled to travel these distances because they’ve been victimized by policies supported by One Party Rule.
Lack of affordable housing, rising crime rates and underperforming schools are the result of the failed policies of One Party Rule.
To be able to put a roof over their family’s heads, to protect their children from predators and to have better schools, my constituents are forced to endure ungodly commute times that rob them of a higher quality of life.
And now One Party Rule has resulted in SB 1, which will increase taxes on fuel and fees on cars by $52 billion for those who can least afford it.
I co-authored a real transportation plan that dedicated billions to road construction and maintenance, contained reforms and accountability measures to ensure monies were spent as promised – and we accomplished this without raising taxes.
SB 1 will punish my constituents and all but the wealthiest of Californians – those who can afford to live near where they work and who drive brand new, fuel-efficient vehicles.
But that’s not the reality in my district, or in most legislative districts throughout the state. Many of these folks can’t afford to live where they work – that’s why they endure killer commutes and sit idle on over-crowded freeways.
They are people in the building trades, law enforcement, teachers and social workers who through their efforts enhance the life of all Californians.
This gas tax is another in a litany of “I told you so” laws. My prediction – our roads will not improve, more roads will not be built, these funds will be repurposed for other pet projects including the so-called Bullet Train, and ordinary Californians will have less cash in their pockets.
SB 1 is another roadblock to those looking to enter the middle class and aspiring to build a brighter future for their children.
Democrats are responsible for every policy decision that comes out of Sacramento, and they need to own it.
Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which encompasses the Santa Clarita, Antelope and Victor valleys.