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New $52.4 billion gas tax plan wins approval from state Legislature

Original post made on Apr 8, 2017

The California Legislature Thursday approved a $52.4 billion, 10-year gas tax and new annual vehicle fee increase intended to fix the state's roads and make other transit improvements.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, April 8, 2017, 8:58 AM

Comments (36)

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Jerry wouldn't have to fleece us with such a hefty tax and fee hike if he simply rejected his pet HSR boondoggle. A 12 cent per gallon tax hike will cost the average taxpayer $1.80 every time they fill up their tank. The ridiculous TIF fee now raises our yearly vehicle operation fees even higher -- and we are the highest in the nation.

The politicians in Sacramento have once again demonstrated that they reject the views of voters. Voters would have NEVER voted to tax themselves again and again. Unfortunately, the gerrymandering (or is that "Jerrymandering?") in the state has left many voters with little choice or hope for change.

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Obviously there's a large constituency that would rather road repairs be financed by something other than a user fee, but this is a welcome sign that the boomer "let the next generation pay for it" stranglehold on Sacramento is loosening.

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

Lets use this money to electrify Caltrain and grade-separate the train tracks. Building new highways isn't going to help if there is no place to park.

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Since we are talking about trains... Mussolini said fascism is the fusion of corporate and state power. Their is no more intimate fusion of corporate and state power than when the state operates a business (CalHSR) and uncouples it from market forces.

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm


Guess what... Jerry Brown is a boomer. Jerry Brown is the ultimate boomer. CalHSR/gas-tax is just another boomer grift we are all going to pay for, for the rest of our lives.

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Paying "the rest of our lives" for the roads we use? Unfathomable!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Both the Federal and State Gas taxes should be pegged to inflation. Maintenance costs inflate and so should the funds to pay for maintenance.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Am I the only one confused with this?

TIF on top of a gas tax increase and $100 charge for EVs. $100 works about 200k miles at 12c gallon which is higher than I would suggest most EVs average.

Or is there something wrong with my reasoning? At least the tax on gas is relative to the number of miles a vehicle does. A flat charge for EVs seems very wrong to me.

P.S. The road repairs are necessary, but I would prefer to see money saved in Sacramento red tape.

Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

If I read the papers on this there is more than the gas tax. Jerry filled the pork barrel of those congressmen who were reluctant to vote yes and gave then all kinds of location specific goodies. So it is back to the pork barrel politics and that is suppose to be one of our California "values"? I have had it with this whole story line that includes HSR, twin tunnels, etc. I can't wait until this person is out of the governor's office.

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm

"Guess what... Jerry Brown is a boomer. Jerry Brown is the ultimate boomer."

Get real. Brown's no Boomer, except maybe in a Trump-Conway alternative facts universe.

Y'all want a scapegoat? Consult any mirror. [Portion removed]

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2017 at 7:48 pm


We ALL use the roads. Even bicyclists and train buffs use the roads. Pedestrians use the sidewalks. The roads provide public space for farmer's markets, parades, and protest marches. The roads provide easements for all of our utilities. Our electricity, sewers, storm drains, and internet cables. The roads carry 99% of our passenger miles.

No one will ever use CalHSR. A plane ride will be faster and cheaper, and autonomous vehicles are just around the corner. Why would anyone ride the train to LA if an automobile could drive itself and you there? At the end of the line you are going to have to rent a car anyway. You are still probably 50 miles from your final destination. LA doesn't have any practical public transportation.

State run passenger-rail is just another half-baked dream the boomer generation came up with while smoking a joint and thumbing through the Whole Earth Catalogue. Like communes, psychedelic-enlightenment, cybernetics, corporate environmentalism, the "new" economy, the urban utopia, and snow-flake child rearing.

Boomers love psychology. They studied Freud, Skinner, and Jung. They used their knowledge of psychology and mind altering drugs to shape the millenial generation to serve them for the rest of their natural lives and to continue their "work" when they are gone.

Inside the head of every millenial there is a tiny little boomer homunculus in a tie-dyed tee shirt wrestling with the controls. Millenials are the new boomers, the new Me generation.

Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

It's about time. A gas tax increase is such a no brainer - my only question is why only 12 cents.

Posted by Had to do it
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm

We had to do it... Our roads are critical, and we're out of money.

Wait... maybe we didn't need to fatten our already bloated union prison guard salaries (and pensions) by 15%. Calif govt will always be broke, since their union special interests take all the money that's available, then plead poor and cry about cuts to roads/schools/etc. That will happen unless the taxpayers dig in again.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2017 at 2:24 am

@Resident -- "$100 works about 200k miles at 12c gallon"

Did you slip a decimal? 100/0.12=833 gallons. 200k/833 would be 240 mpg.

In my conventional vehicle I get about 24 mpg in-town, so I'd rack up $100 after 20,000 miles. Which takes me 3 years. But this 12 cents is just the increase. Already I've been paying 28 cents/gallon California excise tax, so at 40 cents my 300 gallons/year will be taxed $120. Then there's the 2.25% sales tax plus who knows what local taxes, 0.25% here and 0.25% there. We'll leave the 18.4 cents/gallon Federal tax out of the discussion, though much of it actually does come back to California.

At any rate, it looks like everyone's current EVs will be forever exempt from the $100 road improvement fee, since the bill (SB-1) enacts "a new $100 annual vehicle registration fee applicable only to zero-emission vehicles model year 2020 and later".

Posted by Thomas Paine
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 9, 2017 at 8:26 am

Interesting that there is NO prohibition against using this new gas tax fund for any project in the state. Could this simply another ruse by Jerry to fund his delusional high speed rail project? One clue? He is taking $706 million from the fund to repay the general fund for transportation projects which is obviously high speed rail related.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

Woops, Musical thanks for spotting my error.

Yes, not sure what I was thinking. It still seems a high tax for an EV which may have a short range and takes hours to charge compared to 12c gallon. I suspect few EVs have that type of annual mileage.

I hadn't spotted the new vehicle part of the law and if that is true it may make them a little less attractive to some.

Posted by New Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2017 at 8:52 am

Robert, Ahem and soon to join the discussion YIMBY,

Just waiting for you guys to bring up housing prices and Prop 13.
BTW; Who are Jung and Skinner ?
Brown is to young.
What about Buena Vista ? Can we use this new tax to buy that ?
How much is your internet contract and data plan these days ?

Hoorah for HSR
Hoorah for Dogs
Fewer people is a good thing !
Come see the Millennial's on Parade every night in Downtown Mtn View and Palo Alto restaurant scene.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2017 at 9:25 am

In the Liberal Progressive mindset, this is a day to celebrate!

The money you earn is not truly yours. You are just a steward of the currency until the government finds a cause sufficiently worthy to spend it on. Because the California government is responsible for cradle to grave entitlements those needs are endless and a new regressive usage tax is the perfect vehicle (pun intended) to pay for those services.

This bill will provide a substantial new flush of money to reward Democrat constituencies, fund the welfare state, import more immigrant votes and re-engineer social norms. Don't worry, just like the Oroville dam was never fixed by the water bond, this money won't be used to improve transportation used in everyday lives either.

There are too many other pressing priorities. How many schools can be renamed, bathrooms can be made gender neutral and Syrian refugees can be resettled with $52B? Its time to put our money where our mouth is and our cash where our protest poster cards are.

Just think of the possibilities every year as you renew your registration or every week as you fill your tank and watch that meter go 12 cents a gallon higher.

Posted by Grrrowl
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

I don't mind the gas tax, BUT.........$100/yr increase in registration for one car, then $150/yr increase for the other is just over the top!!

How quickly they forgot that this is the very thing that got Scwarzenegger elected!

Posted by New Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

Well measure A is $1000.00 a year. What's another $100.00 ?
The wise people of Palo Alto voted for that tax because only property owners have to pay that.

Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2017 at 11:28 am

Stop funding the high speed train (train to nowhere) and that would be more than enough money to fix every road and highway in the state along with all the infrastructure that is in dire need of replacement/repair.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

With the high speed rail..., I mean DMV registration fee, plus the gas tax it works out to about $200 per year per vehicle.

Well, I guess that is one way to make mass transit more affordable by comparison. Rather than make it cheaper, Liberal Progressive government actively works to make the better alternatives more expensive.

It will use the same approach with housing. Look for the California government to rework Prop 13 to penalize single family homeowners in order to "incentivize" residents in cities to move to high density housing. In the name of fairness, Democrat constituent groups like government employees, teachers, police, fireman and social grievance groups will be exempted of course.

In parallel, the state has also instituted a number of "reforms" to take over control of the social, emotional and medical aspects of our children's lives. At the age of 12, parents no longer have access to the medical records of their kids without consent.

They also are forcing a progressive view of sexual education all the way down to 6th grade or earlier. Cupertino parents recently stopped it but PAUSD is embracing and likely expanding it.

All part of the California Liberal Progressive plan to take over and control every aspect of the lives of its residents.

Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

@Sanctimonious City

All things being said, that's an impressive number of grievances that you were able to tie back to the increase in gasoline taxes.

Posted by Impressive
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Actually a rather Impressive way to put forth and make very clear the progressive agenda.

But you'll choose to ignore it.

Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley

on Apr 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.

Posted by juan olive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:08 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Another Dean
a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:22 am

If you are old enough to remember in the first 8 year reign of the Governor, he stopped the San Jose (101) freeway from being 4 lanes each way, because we didn't need it. That turned into a rush hour parking lot and allowed the Governor and Adriana Gianturco, the head of CalTrans to transfer $2.4 billion dollars from the CalTrans highway funds to the general fund to be used as the Governor wanted. This enabled the 100% increase in welfare, and a 100% increase in welfare recipients many from out of state; which translated to votes for the party of the Governor. This left no money for its original purpose, repair and construction of roads and bridges, which have not been repaired or constructed since, because there has been no money.

When the decision to widen the 101 freeway to its original 4 lanes each way, the cost was about 3 times the original 2 lanes each way, freeway cost.

Now this increase in taxes on vehicles and fuel is purportedly for the repair and construction of roads and bridges, but will, based on the Governor's previous modus operandi, be used for the HSR instead. After all he has to get the money from somewhere, and that $5+ billion would be his only source to draw from.

Do we aid and abet this?


Posted by Caliana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:36 am

Given the exemplary 24 year retrofit delay on the Bay Bridge with engineering defects requiring a retrofit to the retrofit, cost overruns debacle, just how confident should any of us be that best engineering and fiduciary practices will be anywhere in this project?

Posted by Grrrrowl
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm

@New Resident: at least the gas tax is incremental, and if you have an electric car or hybrid, it isn't going to be $1,000/yr!

The registration is all at once!

BTW: the EV exception only lasts until 2020, then they pay $150 extra like everyone else!

Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm

This added cost/gallon may look bad, but has anyone driven in Europe lately? The taxes imposed at the pump per liter dwarf those per gallon (converted from liters) in California.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Yes, and if you drive in Europe you will find that their roads and general roadway infrastructure (signs, etc.) are of much higher quality than here and maintained to a much higher standard.

Posted by Wow!
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 10, 2017 at 6:24 pm

We go to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium frequently and we get quite depressed when we return home: Palo Alto has become dirty and unkempt, with some of the worst roads in the Western Hemisphere

Europeans have a BROADER tax base than we do in the US: no mortgage interest tax deduction, more taxes on dining out, gasoline, cars and durable goods, etc!

But look what they get for it: smooth, quiet roads, well- maintained homes, blogs and antiquities, cheap or free childcare-- and lots of or available, affordable housing, lower interest rates for cars and homes, free or very inexpensive medical care, and an income tax rate of no more than 17%!

AND, because so many tax deductions have been eliminated, annual tax forms are less than ONE page long, and very simple!

Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2017 at 6:39 pm

The condition of roads and other government support infrastructure is less related to the taxes collected than it is to the honesty and competence of the involved government entities. Europe isn't the only place with better roads than California.

I travel to Texas often on business and am always struck by how much better the roads are in Texas than in California. Smoother, wider and better maintained. And they do this without any income tax.

There's a lot to dislike about Texas and I wouldn't want to live there, but they do seem to be able to spend tax money more efficiently on what taxpayers want and need than California. (A low bar to be sure.)

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 10, 2017 at 11:55 pm

@wow, gotta question that income tax data: "no more than 17%"?

My 28% marginal IRS bracket here would be 42% in Germany, 52% in the Netherlands, and 50% in Belgium.

Income tax forms everywhere look equally complicated, and depend heavily on sources of income. I just signed the backside of my 1-sheet 1040. It's supported by Schedule A, B, and D, each 1 sheet. California's form just copies these same numbers.

I've always been quite relieved to come home from Europe.

Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on May 1, 2017 at 1:10 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 1, 2017 at 8:03 am

Don't forget that Jerry is on the Board of Regents for the UC System. Letters to the Editor indicate that the Board of Regents was fully aware that the system was squirreling away millions of dollars while gouging students for higher tuition and giving out salaries that are way higher than counterparts across the country. The UC system is being used as a safety place for termed out government workers. And Gavin Newsome is also in on this debacle as a member of the Board of Regents. And Diane Feinstein's husband Richard Blum is also on and now has a contract to sell post offices and for HSR. Can someone please clean house here? Tired of the over-privileged D's taking advantage of the taxpayer's.

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