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GOP Wants Gas Tax Suspended in CA, Dems Eye New Tax on Gas Suppliers

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California Democrats want to impose a new tax on gas suppliers and then use the revenue for rebates to drivers. (AP File)
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After twice refusing to consider GOP Assemblymember Kevin Kiley of Rocklin’s bill to suspend California’s excise gas tax for six months, a key Assembly committee passed it on Monday — after gutting the contents and inserting an entirely new measure from Democratic Assemblymember Alex Lee of San Jose.

Lee’s amendments would, among other things, impose a new tax on gas suppliers when the price of a gallon of gas is “abnormally high” compared to the cost of a barrel of crude oil — and send the tax revenue back to California drivers via a rebate.

The move prompted fierce anger from Republicans: “Only Assembly Democrats would think you can bring down gas prices by increasing the gas tax,” said GOP Assembly Leader James Gallagher of Yuba City. “Today’s stunt in the Transportation Committee shows just how far Democrats will go to delay and avoid giving Californians any relief from high gas prices.”

Democratic Assemblymember Laura Friedman of Burbank, who leads the Transportation Committee, defended the move and said she was “a little appalled and shocked that you all are so appalled and shocked by this. This is exactly our process — that we debate a problem and what the solution is going to be. We didn’t invent any of this procedure. This is longstanding procedure about what we do in committee.”

Tweeted Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals): “Instead of voting to provide #gastax relief to drivers, my friends across the aisle suggested we should increase taxes on suppliers, trust the government (think: EDD & DMV) to create a fund for these dollars, then distribute rebates… #yikes.

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