Posted by Tina
California’s roads and bridges are in need of repair. The governor has decided something needs to be done. He’s right of course, but is his proposal just another means to his big government/big green agenda? Several things are very clear to any Californian with the courage and foresight to notice:
1. California roads and bridges are in need of repair and have been for some time.
2. The taxes we pay to do this work have been used for other purposes for many years. (Squandered in terms of management and adherence to the laws passed by the legislature)
3. Taxes in California, including gas and car registration taxes, are already among the highest in the nation.
4. Electric car owners don’t pay “their fair share” in gas taxes for road repairs.
5. The transportation department, like all state departments, is a bloated inefficient bureaucracy.
6. Green gasoline policies make the price for a gallon of gas much higher than the price in the rest of the country.
7. Increases in registration costs have already been made in recent years for this purpose.
So, do the people of California need to be taxed more or do our leaders need to do a better job of managing our money. We know gasoline funds have been used for other purposes. (Funding of state worker retirement plans. Shortages in welfare or healthcare funds. Big green projects like the train to nowhere. To cover the cost of spending beyond the approved budget.) This is unacceptable. No individual or company would survive if they managed their resources in this manner.
Highlights of the Governors proposal include: $3.6 billion a year for repairs to California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure representing a $65 driver fee, fees charged to polluters (Think polluter police), and bureaucratic reform of Caltrans, an overstaffed department according to an “independent state legislative analyst.”
It appears Governor Brown has not been able to secure the votes needed to pass legislation based on his proposals. Republicans ans Democrats were not anxious to sign on. Is it because it’s an election year? Are they clever enough to know that in this economy higher gas taxes will just mean that California’s car owners will respond by driving less and using less fuel? Who knows! If they follow their usual pattern, legislation to raise fuel related taxes and fees will happen at some point in the near future.
Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities, was right when making the case for California cities, “It is well past time for the Legislature to act,” but strikes the wrong pose, IMHO, when he stated, “The conditions are getting so bad that if Californians don’t commit to prioritizing funding to fix them, we will be facing the failure of a large portion of our bridges, streets and road.”
News flash…it isn’t the people of California that need to commit to prioritizing funding; it is the legislature and the Governor who need to prioritize funding and use our tax dollars efficiently and as originally intended. The public should only support new taxes and fees when our leaders demonstrate they can manage taxpayer dollars well and use funds for the purpose for which they they were allocated.
Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas apparently agrees, at least in part. He proposed a transportation financing package earlier this year that would end the practice of diverting taxes meant for road repairs to other uses.
They say gas taxes haven’t been increased in 20 years. But other fees have been. Bay Area bridge tolls and registration fees have increased. Our gas taxes go up or down now “based on state projections.” The Governors proposal would create “a fixed rate based on a 5-year average then add index increases to the consumer price index.” What do you want to bet that the “five year average” would always be higher than the last? An 11-cent-per-gallon increase on diesel fuel was also proposed. Just what Californians need, another hidden tax on the goods we all buy.
Governments at all levels always get bigger and taxes always increase while our roads fall apart and problems never seem to be solved. Is there any question that our leaders serve only to increase the size of government and feed their own interests? Demand for smaller, more efficient government is the answer but we need the agreement, nay the outrage, of an informed populace to realize this goal. This is one of the reasons we at Post Scripts keep this blog alive and why we, and you our fine contributors, take the risk to communicate what we’ve discovered to friends, relatives and strangers.
I’m happy that the Governors proposal failed to garner enough votes for now. I don’t kid myself that it means an end to the state governments intention to raise our “road and bridge” taxes. The larger problem, however, requires a difficult, long term effort from all of us. Your contribution, right within your own immediate circle, is vital. Continue to plant seeds of freedom and the values spelled out in the Constitution. And remember, Rome really wasn’t built in a day and if fell, in part, because of greedy, inefficient, elitist leadership: “An exhausted global empire was so plagued by financial corruption, a bankrupt elite, and rural depopulation that few citizens joined the army. Fewer still knew what fifth-century Rome stood for, much less whether it was any longer worth defending.”