A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in Wednesday, and while the immediate impact will mean less money in motorists’ wallets, the long-term political fallout could roll into next year, when the higher levies are expected to be an issue in elections across California.
But the vitriol between Democrats who supported the new taxes and Republicans who opposed them kicked up months ago, well before the first newly taxed gallon will be pumped tomorrow.
The tax increase has triggered proposed ballot initiatives to repeal the hikes from members of the GOP who hope to capitalize on the issue in the 2018 elections. A recall campaign and attack ads have been launched against legislators who voted for the higher levies. And multiple court battles over the efforts to oppose the gas tax have begun.
Just last week, two lawmakers who voted for the April transportation package that included the gas tax increases came under fire in radio ads financed by the Western Growers Assn., which represents farmers who say they will have to pay more to get their crops to market.
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