My turn: ‘Yes’ on Prop. 6. An unfair tax
California has a cost-of-living problem and the recently imposed gas and car tax hikes will only make it worse.
That’s why nearly 1 million Californians signed the petition to get Proposition 6 on the November ballot. Democrats, independents, and Republicans all see our cost-of-living as unsustainable.
A “yes” vote on Proposition 6 not only will repeal the latest increases in the gas and car taxes, but you will send a clear message to politicians that they need to do more to address the struggles of working Californians who are barely making ends meet. We cannot afford regressive, unfair taxes like the gas and car tax hikes.
This year, we Californians will pay nearly $1 more per gallon because of taxes, fees, and other state government mandates. By 2021, many Californians will be paying close to $2 more a gallon extra because of taxes, fees, and other government mandates. That would be $40 extra each time you fill up your car.
The recently imposed gas and car tax hikes will hit working families hard by increasing the cost-of-living for the typical family of four by roughly $800 per year. A “yes” vote on Proposition 6 will provide working families with immediate relief from these higher costs.
In addition to fighting the higher cost-of-living, a “yes” vote will end the fraud being perpetrated by Sacramento politicians who divert our gas tax funds.
Politicians are trying to con voters into thinking that the gas tax is earmarked for road repairs. Worse, they’re shamefully running ads claiming that if you don’t accept higher taxes, you may put your life at risk for traffic accidents and collapsing bridges.
How dare they use fear-mongering when they have diverted the existing gas tax funds from those same projects for years.
When you see those scary ads paid for by special interests who want your tax dollars, please remember that prior to these new gas and car tax hikes, California drivers already were paying some of the highest gas taxes in the country, and yet we still have the fourth worst roads.
The theft of our gas tax funds will continue. In fact, the latest gas tax hike law allows politicians to spend the money any way they want, including to cover shortfalls in the state’s general fund. Not a single penny is actually mandated to be spent just on roads.
What little money that does make it to the roads will be riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse. The Reason Foundation’s annual highway report reveals that California spends 2.5 times more per mile of state-controlled highway than the national average.
There is a better solution for fixing California’s roads without a tax increase. A “yes” vote on Proposition 6 vote will give us the mandate to implement better alternatives with real accountability.
The Yes-on-Proposition 6 coalition proposes that 100 percent of the previous gas tax be spent entirely on roads. We also propose earmarking the sales tax on cars to regional, inter-modal transportation projects.
Finally, we would impose significant accountability, efficiency and transparency reforms to make sure our funds are effectively spent.
Take a stand against California’s high cost-of-living and continued gas tax fraud by politicians by voting “yes” on Proposition 6.
Carl DeMaio is a former San Diego city councilman and chairman of the Yes on Proposition 6 campaign, [email protected]. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.
My turn: ‘No’ on Prop. 6. We need safe roads
Earlier this summer, a section of roadway on Interstate 5 near downtown Sacramento crumbled away causing multiple collisions, vehicle damage and flat tires, closing the highway, and snarling the morning commute.
The drivers involved—and the California Highway Patrol officers who responded—were fortunate this time: no one was killed and no next-of-kin needed to be notified. But with our crumbling roadway infrastructure, we may not be so fortunate the next time.
That’s why so many first responders and public safety leaders are steadfastly opposed to Proposition 6 on the November ballot–the measure that would eliminate $5 billion annually in existing transportation funding. If Proposition 6 passes, our roads will continue to deteriorate and the safety of our bridges and roads will only get worse.
What happened on I-5 wasn’t a surprise to anyone who travels this route daily. A recent study shows six of the nation’s top 50 most dangerous highways are in California. Interstate 5 in California is the nation’s fourth most dangerous freeway.
The sad fact is the crumbling pavement that caused the crashes and delays in Sacramento are all too familiar in almost every part of the state.
The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration numbers show there were 3,600 fatalities on California roads in 2016. And any CHP officer can tell you poor roads are a major cause of collisions.
Eighty-nine percent of California counties have roads that are in “poor” or “at-risk” condition, and 1,600 of our bridges and overpasses are structurally deficient and unsafe.
Proposition 6 would eliminate more than $5 billion annually in existing transportation funds and jeopardize more than 6,500 bridge and road safety, transportation, and public transit improvement projects currently underway throughout California.
The vital projects Proposition 6 would eliminate include:
- 3,727 projects fixing potholes and repaving roads;
- 1,571 projects dedicated to improving road and driver safety;
- 554 bridge and overpass repair and replacement projects;
- 337 traffic congestion relief projects; and
- 453 projects improving public transportation.
Proposition 6 will force many of these projects to be eliminated, wasting money and making roads less safe.
The initiative would eliminate other projects that make a difference for safety, such as better striping for improved visibility, safety guardrails, and more flashing signs and rumble strips.
Another harmful consequence is that bad roads lead to worse emergency response times for ambulances, law enforcement, and firefighters. That increases chances of fatalities.
The California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the California Professional Firefighters Association, and other public safety organizations oppose Proposition 6.
More than 250 public safety organizations, engineers, local transportation agencies, cities, counties, environmental groups, business and labor organizations have joined together to say No on 6.
Eighty-one percent of voters showed their wisdom by passing Proposition 69. That measure ensures that transportation funds will get spent on transportation and will prevent politicians from diverting the money for other purposes.
Why do I feel so strongly about defeating Proposition 6? I spent 30 years on the CHP with so many hard-working, dedicated first responders. I refuse to just sit by and watch the transportation infrastructure that my loved ones, my colleagues, and the public use every day be attacked by politicians working for their own gain.
Public safety should never be used as a political football. That’s why I am voting “no” on Proposition 6.
Skip Carter is a former California Highway Patrol deputy commissioner, [email protected]. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.