The California legislature is poised to miss the May 1 deadline to suspend the annual summer gas tax increase, leaving the state government to come up with another way to deliver relief to residents who live in the state with the highest gas prices in the country.
The current price per gallon of regular fuel in California is $5.69, according to AAA. The state gas tax is also the highest in the nation. Governor Gavin Newsom promised in January to suspend any attempt to charge a gas tax, but lawmakers did not move fast enough to deliver that pledge.
Newsom’s office said this week, “It is clear now that the Legislature will not act in time to provide that immediate, limited relief, but we look forward to working with lawmakers on the Governor’s proposal for direct payments to Californians wrestling with rising prices. The sooner we can move this package through the legislative process, the sooner we can deliver needed relief to Californians,” the office added.
Governor Newsom proposed last month to deliver financial relief to Californians via $400 direct payments to car owners in the state. “Helping offset the impact of inflation on California residents remains a top priority for the Governor, and his revised budget will include proposals to help Californians keep pace with rising costs,” the governor’s office said.
Republican lawmakers blame Newsom and Democrats for missing the deadline. “This inaction by Gov. Newsom and Assembly Democrats is completely unacceptable,” said Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong, who serves on the Assembly Transportation Committee.
“Gavin Newsom is going to allow gas prices to go up knowing Californians are being crushed by inflation, high gas prices, and a broader affordability crisis.”
Republicans have introduced a proposal to suspend the entire gas tax effective immediately.