A City If You Can Keep It: Fuel for thought

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Richard Casavecchia
Special to the Express

On March 14, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry voted against temporarily suspending the gas tax. Had that bill become law, we would have seen an immediate reduction of $0.511 per gallon at the pump. On March 17, she — along with 10 other members of the assembly — proposed a bill to send a $400 gas tax “rebate” to every voter.

The voting record of Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry shows she is more concerned with getting re-elected than the price of gas in California.

Whether you believe gas prices are high because the country we import less than 10 percent of our oil from is at war, or you know that gas prices increased the moment we ceased being a net exporter of oil in 2021, it is more expensive to fill up your car these days. Last week it cost me $73 to fill my tank.

For years we in California have paid over $1.00 more for a gallon of gas than the rest of the Country. Part of this is due to our gas taxes. California adds on $0.511 per gallon, supposedly for roads and bridges though they never seem to get any better.

Courtesy graphic

For historical perspective, the Boston Tea Party was held over a $0.03 tea tax which equates to about $0.99 today, which puts us $0.48 per gallon away from what was too much for our founding fathers to stomach.

Aguiar-Curry’s social media post touting her proposal claimed this would be funded by the budget surplus, and implied suspending the gas tax would stop transportation projects and the associated jobs.

Apparently, the surplus is unable to be used for transportation projects? I’ll have to break open my accounting textbooks and get back to you on the logic of her reasoning.

“Let’s get relief out the door to everyone in our state. #GasCashNow,” her post reads. The hashtag is revealing of the motivations here. Checks from the government during an election year.

Mayor Aguiar-Curry worked on small town issues and supported the local farmer. Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry seems to value politics over problem solving.

Suspending the gas tax helps those most impacted by the excessive nation leading California Gas Taxes. The more you drive the more you save, directly proportional to how much you consume. Tesla drivers get no benefit, truckers and farmers with large vehicles get the most benefit.

The added value is the cost to farm and transport food would go down as well, which would help hedge against the out-of-control inflation we have had in the past twelve months. We would all save at the pump and in the grocery store.

Aguiar-Curry’s proposal is a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. Anyone who can afford a $60,000 – $170,000 Tesla certainly doesn’t need gas tax relief. But their checks will be funded by people who cannot afford a six-figure electric vehicle.

If you want to fix a problem, you fix the problem. If gas taxes are too high, you don’t send a one-time rebate, you lower the taxes.

Sending checks out in an election year is tantamount to buying votes. We need less Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry and more Mayor Aguiar-Curry.

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