The bipartisan, bicameral California Problem Solvers Caucus, which includes local Assemblymen Heath Flora and Adam Gray, unveiled a new proposal on Thursday to suspend the gas tax and provide financial relief to consumers.
“Democrats, Republicans and Independents are all feeling the pain at the pump,” said Gray. “This is not a partisan problem. The Problem Solvers support taking immediate actions to lower gas prices while looking for long-term affordability solutions.”
The new proposal would fully suspend the 51.1 cent excise tax on each gallon of gas for 12 months, while back-filling funding for transportation projects using the state’s multibillion-dollar General Fund surplus. Previous proposals were criticized for allowing oil companies to pocket the tax savings without guaranteeing lower gas prices for consumers.
The Problem Solvers’ plan explicitly requires retailers pass along 100 percent of the tax savings to reduce prices for consumers and provides mechanisms for enforcing its provisions.
The Problem Solvers emphasized that they see the gas tax holiday as one of several steps in combating historic inflation and the rising cost of living. They cited rebate checks, efforts to reduce congestion at the ports, and longer-term strategies to reduce gas prices as some of the other solutions they support.
“There are several worthwhile options we need to consider, but when gas is nearly $6/gallon we need an all-of-the-above approach,” Gray said. “Talk doesn’t reduce prices, actions do. We are taking action to suspend the gas tax now and will continue to support other inflation busters as well.”
The California Problem Solvers Caucus includes: Assemblymember Adam Gray (D—Merced); Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D—Stockton); Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I—Yucca Valley); Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D—Irvine); Assemblymember Heath Flora (R—Ripon); Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R—San Luis Obispo); Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R—Escondido); Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D—Concord); Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R—Palmdale); Senator Josh Newman (D—Fullerton); and Senator Melissa Hurtado (D—Sanger).