Californians proposed ‘Fix the Roads' taxes; fees draw political fire

It didn't take long for anti-tax advocates to oppose the Governor Jerry Brown’s 10-year, $52 billion proposal to fix the state's deplorable and crumbling roads.

Get ready for a flood of ads you'll surely be hearing on your radio, especially during commutes. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is going to war with the state government and the gas pump is the battle field.

The radio is abuzz about higher gas and car registration taxes. "Have you heard that Sacramento politicians are trying to jam through a $5 billion-a year tax increase on California drivers?" asks the ads placed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association on radio stations statewide.

As we reported last week, Governor Jerry Brown and leaders of the State Senate and Assembly, want to add a new 12 cents a gallon tax on gasoline to fix California's state and city highways, roads and streets.

The radio ads say, "Much of the money we pay in car taxes, truck fees and gas taxes is diverted. So a gas and car tax increase means we would be paying twice for the same service."

Larry Montgomery sides with the Taxpayers Association who said "When they say they're gonna use a particular fund for taxes to fix a particular thing, they never do. They always use the money for something else, just like with Social Security."

But with the exception of that of Mr. Montgomery, every other driver we spoke with said they'd be happy to turn that into $3.11 a gallon under one proviso and one proviso only.

"We want to make sure the money will not get diverted to anything, but roads," said Precious Williams. "There's no reason we can't take the money and put it into a specific fund. There's no reason they should be subverting that and putting it into the General Fund," said Justin Walker.

At the current 56.5 per gallon for state and Federal taxes and fees, California charges the nation's seventh highest gas tax, more than 20 cents a gallon less than Pennsylvania; the nation's highest. Car registration fees would increase by $25 to $175 a year depending on it's worth.

"If we're told that's what the tax is for then I think that's what is should be spent for, said Ruth Martinez. But if they don't use it for that? "Give it back." said Martinez.

Currently 40 percent of DMV registration fees go to cities and counties, 26 percent to the CHP, 14 percent to the DMV, 13 percent to the Caltrans state highways fund, 6 percent to other state government agencies and less than 1 percent to the state's General Fund.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association isn't buying it at all saying this in its ads, "Sacramento politicians and special interests are playing us for fools."