Brown’s Lousy Idea By George Runner

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George Runner

Dateline Sacramento — Gov. Brown and legislative Democrats recently announced a deal to create a new car tax and raise the state’s gas tax by 40 percent. If passed, the proposal would cost Californians $52 billion over the course of a decade.

If you thought you were safe because you drive an electric vehicle, the transportation package includes a new $100 annual fee for zero emission vehicles. Elite, cosmopolitan Democrats claim our roads can’t be fixed with the money we already send to Sacramento. Why not?

California residents pay a hefty premium to live in the state. You’d think in return we’d at least have high-quality roads. Instead, our state’s roads are consistently ranked as some of the worst in the nation, with the Bay Area leading the way.

Democratic leaders are calling this massive tax hike a “pay-as-you-go” plan. That’s a rather curious name when you consider the following:

  • Californians already pay $4.5 billion to $5 billion a year in fuel taxes. That’s not including weight fees, registration fees or local sales taxes.
  • According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state’s failing cap-and-trade program adds an additional 12 cents per gallon to fuel costs. That’s an additional $2 billion a year, much of which has been directed to high-speed rail. Not one cent has gone toward fixing roads.
  • State revenues have grown by nearly 50 percent since 2008, from $83 billion to $122 billion today.

If there isn’t enough money for roads after all we’ve paid, it makes you wonder what Californians have been paying for the whole time…

Read the full op-ed in The Sacramento Bee.


Mr. Runner, a Southern California member of the state Board of Equalization, may be contacted at

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