A “YES” vote on Proposition 6 on November’s ballot should be natural. That is, unless you are a union member, a contractor getting a piece of the taxpayer-funded pie, a California state employee or one who has been hoodwinked once again by our unbridled tax-and-spend Sacramento majority.
Prop 6 is the response to 2017’s Senate Bill 1, Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The text reveals its much-needed “transportation improvements” and roads are among the last two items SB1 will provide.
Gov. Jerry Brown once said he would not raise taxes without voter approval. False. He deceptively signed SB1/RRAA into law without any voter say-so whatsoever in June 2017. That costly ruse mandates:
Increased gas excise tax of 12 cents per gallon (from 29.7 cents to 41.7 cents).
Increased diesel excise tax 20 cents per gallon (from 16 to 36 cents).
Increased sales tax on diesel fuel by 4 percent (from 9 to 13 cents).
Created an annual “zero-emissions vehicle fee” (effective 2020 for 2020 models on).
Created an annual Transportation Improvement Fee (aka significantly increased car registration fees).
Automatic annual increases (“inflation adjustments”).
“The RRAA was designed to dedicate the revenue to transportation infrastructure.”
Per the state’s Appropriation Committee, the expected revenue of SB1 is $52.4 billion over 10 years. California’s transportation funding from mid-2009 to present from local, state and federal follows:
2009-10: $22.6 billion
2010-11: $23.4 billion
2011-12: $25.4 billion
2012-13: $24.5 billion
2013-14: $27.1 billion
2014-15 $27.8 billion
2015-16: $28.9 billion
2016-17: $28.4 billion
2017-18: $32.4 billion (est.)
2018-19: $34.9 billion (est.)
TOTAL: $275.6 billion (campaign finance report through June 30), revenue from quarter-cent statewide sales tax, county-imposed sales tax, city/county general funds, transit passenger fares, toll revenues, gas and diesel excise taxes, car registration fees, weight fees, cap-and-trade auction revenues, transit passenger fares, federal grants for highways, transit and high-speed rail fees. Excludes general fund support for transportation bond debt service.)
Source: California Transportation Funding sites including charts A and C.
It’s incumbent and prudent for taxpayers to ask: Where did all of the money go considering the dismal state of California’s entire roads system and all of Brown’s press about dilapidated infrastructure? If the leaders could not manage those billions of dollars, they cannot manage another $5.24 billion a year for 10 years.
In June 2017, I quoted a sampling of SB1’s text:
“Chapter 2. Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program. (RMRA)
“Section 2030 (a) through (h) include but not limited to: traffic control devices, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and (those) safety projects, ‘transit facilities, and drainage and stormwater (sic) capture projects…’
“Section 2038 brings in the California Development Workforce Board and State Department of Education; (a) through (f). Mandatory plans for pre-apprenticeships for women, minorities, the underprivileged, disadvantaged and underrepresented ‘to help increase their representation in the building and construction trades.’
“Subsection (e): outreach those individuals ‘in the local labor market area and to formerly incarcerated individuals.’ There must be coordination between state-approved apprenticeship programs, engaging ‘the California Conservation Corps and certified community conservation corps,’ to better ensure future employment.
“Section 2032 (g): $2 million to the California State University to conduct ‘transportation research and transportation-related workforce education, training and development.”
The aforementioned government sites claim road rehabilitation money will be spent, by their priorities, as follows: intercity and commuter rail; public transit; congested corridors; state transit assistance programs; transit and intercity rail capital program and trade corridors.
Money leftovers from that will go to: state bridges and culverts; “self-help” counties; active transportation; freeway patrols; local planning grants; university research and workplace development.
Leftovers from the leftovers will go 50 percent to “highway maintenance/rehabilitation” and “local streets and road maintenance/rehabilitation.”
Considering all of the billions collected to date, the dire cries of danger now, therefore demanding more money by Jerry Brown and cohorts, are hollow and devious.
It’s the plan of the anti-Prop. 6 group to amass $50 million to defeat Prop. 6. There are more calamitous consequences than fuel taxes.
The spenders will celebrate the destruction of grass-roots efforts who dare challenge them. They’ll be hyper-emboldened to raise taxes repeatedly. They’re already discussing a drinking water tax, another cell phone tax, a per-parcel stormwater collection tax and abolishing Proposition 13, which will double or triple homeownership property taxes.
Proposition 6 must have a YES vote — for many reasons.
Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among several local Republicans.