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California Gas Tax Repeal Measure Set For November Ballot

Mike Mozart / Flickr
 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

UPDATED 5:30 p.m.

Get ready for a big battle this fall over last year’s transportation funding law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. As expected, an effort backed by conservatives to repeal the law’s fuel tax and vehicle fee increases has qualified for the November ballot.

From the moment legislative Democrats and one Republican sent the governor the road repair funding measure called SB 1 last year, other Republicans and anti-tax advocates have vowed to fight it, and fight it hard.

They started by leveraging the vote of southern California state Sen. Josh Newman into a successful recall campaign that flipped a Democratic seat to a Republican earlier this month. Now, they’re hoping to turn it into a potent campaign issue this fall, boosting GOP voter turnout to help save the party’s congressional seats.

The initiative, however, doesn’t just repeal the gas tax and vehicle fee increases, which raise billions of dollars a year for road and highway repairs and public transportation. It also requires voter approval for any future state transportation taxes.

Reactions poured in within minutes of the initiative’s qualification — starting with a rare tweet from Brown’s personal account.

“This flawed and dangerous measure pushed by Trump’s Washington allies jeopardizes the safety of millions of Californians by stopping local communities from fixing their crumbling roads and bridges,” reads the tweet. “Just say no.”

The governor has vowed to fight the measure, and at last check, had nearly $15 million in campaign funds at his disposal.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, on the other hand, has signaled he will make the initiative a signature part of his campaign.

"This is a message to the millions of forgotten Californians ignored by the Sacramento political elite, help is on the way," Cox said in a statement. "Let this also be a message to every special interest in Sacramento, we’re coming for you.”

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