California’s gas tax is set to increase July 1, but some lawmakers are calling for a freeze on the higher levy, citing the financial burden of the coronavirus-spawned recession on millions of the state’s residents.
The automatic increase pegged to inflation — the third increase in the last four years — comes as a long-simmering dispute over the gas tax law enacted three years ago has again flared up at the state Capitol.
The tax is set to increase by 3.2 cents, to 50.5 cents per gallon, and state officials estimate it will bring in an additional $440 million to state coffers in the coming fiscal year. The hike is triggered by the increase in the consumer price index and is built into SB 1, the legislation that boosted the tax by 12 cents per gallon in 2017 and 5.6 cents last year.
In all, the fuel taxes are expected to raise $7 billion during the new fiscal year to pay for road and bridge repairs. But a group of Republican lawmakers says this is the wrong time to raise taxes on Californians, more than 6 million of whom have lost jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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