On Nov. 6 voters will have the chance to vote “yes” on Proposition 6, which will repeal Senate Bill 1, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $52 billion gas and car tax.
In April 2017, armed with a super majority in both houses of the Legislature, Gov. Brown forced this tax down the people’s throats.
We were told that SB 1 funds would go to road construction and maintenance. To ensure the Democrat majority wouldn’t redirect any of the new taxes to other programs, they passed an accompanying bill that created a “lock-box” for the new funds.
The catch was the ‘lockbox’ was to be sealed on Jan. 1, 2018. In June 2017, during the state budget process, the Democrats stole about 30 percent of the new gas tax money from the “lockbox.” They redirected this funding from roads to such things as the state parks system and job training for felons!
SB 1 is simply a slight-of-hand shell game. It’s a money grab of epic proportions that will not result in a noticeable, long-term solution to the plague of dilapidation that has haunted California’s roadways.
This money-grab offended the people of the 29th Senate District and on June 5 of this year they recalled Democrat Sen. Josh Newman, and replaced him with former GOP Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang. So now the Democrats no longer have a super majority in the state Senate.
The special interests and many in the media are peddling a false narrative about SB 1 and Prop. 6. Here are the facts:
• SB 1 violated Gov. Brown’s pledge not to raise taxes without a vote of the people.
• SB 1 limits new road construction to a maximum of 5 percent.
• At least 30 percent of SB 1 funds have been diverted to non-road programs such as job training for felons. (So much for the “lock-box”.)
• SB 1 will cost more than $52 billion over the next 10 years, because the gas tax will be indexed for inflation beginning in 2020.
Prop. 6 will do two things: repeals SB 1 and requires that any new road tax passed by the Legislature be approved by the people.
If passed, Prop. 6 will bring all voices into the discussion on how to fix our roads and will require a bipartisan solution approved by the people.
I think everyone agrees we need more and better roads. That’s why the last few years I’ve 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. Those various plans were never given the consideration of a public hearing.
The passage of Prop. 6 will force the Legislature do its job – have a robust debate on how to build and maintain our roads. Legislation is supposed to be about compromise. So even though my friends and I crafted a plan to spend nearly $6 billion more a year on roads without raising taxes, the Democrat majority won’t be happy unless they take some of your money.
So any future compromise, I’m sure, will have a new tax component to it. However, any new proposal that is put before the people will cost less, be dedicated to more road construction and have the necessary reforms so our money is spent more effectively and efficiently.
In my six years in the Legislature the general fund has grown from $99 billion to $142 billion. Yet, Gov. Brown has never restored the road funding that was diverted during the “Great Recession” nor has he added additional funding.
I’ve learned over the last six years that the Democrat majority doesn’t care about roads, but they do care about their social engineering projects. They purposely starve needed priorities like our children’s education, water infrastructure and roads to entice good-willed Californians into supporting additional taxes.
By voting “yes” on Prop. 6 you will force the Sacramento political elites to actually develop a responsible plan that builds and maintains our roads at a reasonable cost.
If you want better balance in the state Legislature, then please vote for either Assemblyman Dante Acosta (38th Assembly District) or Assemblyman Tom Lackey (36th Assembly District). If you want more roads for less money then please join me by voting “Yes” on Proposition 6.
Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which encompasses the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.