Most of us are voting by mail-in ballot, which should be arriving in about two weeks. So it is not too early to start talking about California Proposition 6 on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Before we review the six reasons why I recommend we should vote Yes on 6, I think it best to review why this issue is before us.
Last year the state Legislature assessed a 12-cent fuel tax per gallon and increased vehicle registration fees through Senate Bill 1, called the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This equals about $2 in extra tax for every fill-up on every car you see on the road. Thus, the state Assembly and Senate levied an estimated $5.2 billion-per-year tax on fuel for each of the next 10 years.
And as we all know, after this $52 billion is collected, politicians would try to convince us that it was not enough and another $50-plus billion will be needed to keep our roads open.
Our slick politicians, knowing that there would be an outcry after the passage of SB 1, immediately created Proposition 69, which would pretend to fix the outrage they had created.
But this was a lure to get voters to approve a measure that would lift restrictions on how the gas tax increase monies would be spent. From the start, the Legislature had passed a bill with restrictions that could be re-framed with voter approval to divert transportation funds to be spent on anything the Legislature wishes.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office mislabeled the measure as, “A YES vote on this measure means: The Legislature will be required under the state Constitution to continue to spend revenues from recently enacted fuel taxes and vehicle fees on transportation purposes (such as repairing roads and improving transit).”
The Legislature with SB 1 had already earmarked all tax revenues from diesel and gas sales to go to “transportation.” In reality, passage of Proposition 69 prohibits the use of taxes raised on diesel sales only and gives permission to spend gasoline tax revenues on items other than actual transportation, which was previously not permitted.
In addition, the Transportation in the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 was not in fact designated just for road repair but included movement-related expenditures such as studying transportation, promoting high-speed rail, implementing bicycle lanes, supplementing the ongoing losses caused by failed public transportation and settling vehicle-related lawsuits.
California Proposition 6 is called the “Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative.”
This worthy ballot initiative, if passed, will repeal the gas and diesel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017 and therefore cancel out Prop. 69. Further, Prop. 6 would require voter approval for fuel tax and vehicle fee increases in the future and de-fang the Legislature to some extent.
Six reasons why to vote yes vote on Proposition 6:
1) This would repeal fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, forcing the Legislature to spend more wisely the monies we already pay in taxes at the pump.
2) We would curb the diversion of our gas tax money to things other than transportation.
3) We could finally clip the wings of the “high-speed rail project,” which we already know can never be competed and is already technologically obsolete.
4) We would require voter approval (via ballot propositions) for any new fuel taxes, ending the state Legislature’s ability to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.
5) The slow-down of non-essential projects, for whom only unions benefit, would cause a reduction in cash-flow the unions use to buy off politicians.
6) Voting yes signals to our representatives that even this well-developed scheme to steal our money and other future schemes will be eventually thwarted.
The real culprit is, however, not the Legislature but the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which falsely labeled Prop. 69 and obscured the true intent of the measure — to allow the Legislature to use gasoline taxes for any purpose.
While some in the Legislature are simply grown children pandering for power, recognition and ego, our servants, whom we pay at the Legislative Analyst’s Office, have no excuse to deceive the taxpayers.
After we approve Proposition 6, I hope the Legislative Analyst’s Office, “The California Legislature’s Non-Partisan and Fiscal Advisor,” is investigated, officials go to jail, and they are forced to become “non-partisan” as promised.
Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CFO private security firm, is the COO of at an Acting Conservatory, is a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.