Californians pay the highest gas prices in the US. But Democrats want to keep it that way for this absurd reason

It’s no secret that gas prices have been increasing steadily for months.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, already high fuel prices have spiked even higher.

Now Californians pay the highest gas prices in the US. But Democrats want to keep it that way for this absurd reason.

California Republicans, attempting to ease some of the pain at the pump, introduced a bill in the state Assembly that would have paused the state’s gas tax for a year, but Democrats have a clear majority in the state legislature.

So, naturally, the bill was shot down in a party line vote in Sacramento.

At a news conference before he introduced the bill, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin said, “We are offering the legislature the chance to be on the side of hard-working Californians by suspending the state gas tax in its entirety.”

California’s 51 cent tax on every gallon of gas is the highest in the nation.

Since the average gas tank holds 14 gallons, a pause of the tax would save the average driver $7.14 with every fill-up.

The bill would have temporarily removed the tax, which brings in $4 billion of funds for transportation maintenance and construction, but with a $65 billion surplus, Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher says that loss could easily be found elsewhere.

Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested in last week’s State of the State address that he’d like to keep the gas tax in place, but he says he would rather reimburse individual residents through rebate checks.

Newsom also indicated support for suspending the upcoming gas tax increase – slated to take effect in July – that will tack on an additional 3 cents per gallon.

But Erin Mellon, Newsom’s communications director, poured cold water on the Republican plan, saying, “the Republican’s proposal can be manipulated to help line the pockets of petro-dictators and oil companies who are benefiting from the spike in oil prices across the world. The Governor has proposed a tax rebate to provide billions in direct relief to Californians who are suffering from rising gas prices across the country, a direct result of war.”

This is a dodge, because it’s not clear that individual rebate checks would give commuters, small business owners and other Californians facing dramatic increases in the cost of living the immediate relief that suspending the gas tax would provide.

Not to mention, gas prices were soaring for more than a year before Russian President Vladimir Putin ever invaded Ukraine.

After the bill was voted down, State Senator Melissa Melendez, R-Riverside tweeted, “Today we asked the legislature to stand up for constituents and suspend the gas tax. The Democrat majority party said no. So be sure to thank a Democrat next time you fill up your tank.”

From the national level on down, where Democrats are in power, Americans pay more and more at the pump, and voters are taking notice.

Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story.

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