Local leaders who represent the Santa Clarita Valley in Sacramento lobbied this week in support of providing California residents with relief from climbing gas prices.
The news of widespread support for assisting drivers with the financial burden of filling up their car comes as the average gas price in California continues to be more than a dollar higher than the national average.
According to AAA’s website, the average price of gasoline in California on Friday was $5.80/gallon while the national average hovered around $4.27/gallon.
Heading into the weekend, Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, vocalized her support for a proposal made by a group of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday that would provide every California taxpayer with a $400 tax rebate check to offset some of the cost incurred by skyrocketing prices at the pump.
“We need to give the rebate now,” Valladares said in a statement sent to The Signal on Friday. “People are struggling to pay their rent, put gas in their cars and buy groceries right now. They can’t afford to wait months for relief.”
In addition to supporting the rebate, Valladares said the state could continue to lower the financial burden on drivers by suspending the state’s “gas tax.” According to a statement released earlier this week by California’s Republican lawmakers, the state tax on gas adds approximately 51.1 cents in cost to every gallon pumped by their constituents.
“A full moratorium on the gasoline-excise tax would immediately reduce the cost of gasoline by 54.1 cpg,” said State Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, in a letter he and his fellow Senate Republicans sent to Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday. “The resulting revenue loss to the state of $8.1 billion is less than a fifth of the administration’s own forecast in January of a $45.7 billion budget surplus.”
During a press conference held on the same day they sent the letter, Wilk called on Newsom to issue a full moratorium on the gasoline-excise tax.
“I have a district where I have over 200,000 super commuters,” Wilk said during the Monday press conference. “They’re either coming from the Antelope Valley, Lancaster or Palmdale, driving down to L.A. which they call ‘the down below.’”
“So basically, this is a holistic problem because people have to live there because they can’t afford to live in more urban areas, and then we’re paralyzing them for making the choice that they made,” Wilk added.
The Democrat lawmakers who brought the gas rebate proposal forward said they would use $9 billion of the state’s budget surplus to provide the rebate. The rebate, the lawmakers said, would cover the gas tax for an entire year for drivers with a 15-gallon tank.