A state gas tax adding 12 cents to the gallon for gasoline and 20 cents for diesel was implemented on Wednesday.
The law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown raised gasoline from 29.7 cents to 41.7 cents a gallon and the sales tax rate from 9 percent to 13 percent. The revenue collected will go toward California’s crumbling infrastructure, improving mass transit and reducing traffic.
Brown said this increase will only cost Californians an extra $10 a month, but the Republican dominated opposition in the state legislature have already proposed ballot initiatives to repeal the hike.
CSUN is a commuter school, with more than 95 percent of students and faculty driving to school every day, according to the university’s 2010 Commuting Report. For many students, an extra $10 a month is an added burden on the rising costs of going to college.
“I guess it makes sense but we should have been able to vote on it,” said student Jessica Cruz. “I could be using that $10 for food or books, now I don’t really have a choice.”
However, some students are less concerned about the impact on their own wallets and more with interstate trade and transportation.
“I do feel, as a citizen, okay with a gas tax increase as we use the roads most and they must be maintained,” said William Sloane, political science major. “However, the diesel tax increase is not fair to truckers, trucks move America forward. Who knows what they could do in revolt.”
The measure, Senate Bill 1, also adds an annual vehicle fee set to kick in Jan. 1, 2018. Drivers will be required to pay an additional $25 a year for cars worth under $5,000, and up to $175 for cars worth $60,000 and more.
These tax increases, passed by the Democratic-dominated state legislature, is expected to raise $5.2 billion annually and is mandated to be used for transit-related modifications.
Despite the controversy surrounding the bill, there is no denying California’s bridges and roads need some serious help. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a D+ rating in their 2017 assessment, and Brown said there is a backlog of $130 billion in repairs.
The opposition doesn’t disagree that money needs to spent on infrastructure — just about where that money comes from. Many Republicans argue that the finances should be taken from the bullet train project and wasteful government spending rather than their constituents pockets.
Although the tax has already been passed, the political fallout is gearing up to be a major topic in the 2018 elections as Californians begin to feel the effects on their bank accounts.
”Always when gas goes up we get complaints,” said Sevan G, a Chevron employee. ”It’s an easy way to make money because everyone needs gas.”