Dems in California Differ on How to Reduce Gas Prices

Democrats in the California legislature and the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, are at war with one another. The war is over the best way to help Californians cope with the state’s record-high gas prices.

Although Newsom vowed “prompt action” in March and proposed doling out rebates to automobile owners, state legislators have not yet reached a deal on how to put funds into the wallets of Californians.

A Grand $9 Billion

According to Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget and Policy Center, in an interview with Politico, “there weren’t going to be paychecks cut in the next few weeks following that declaration.”

Still, the announcement generated an expectation of something happening more quickly.

“They released a proposal that didn’t have many specifics, didn’t have many outlines, and they hadn’t discussed it with the legislature before doing so.”

Under the terms of the plan proposed by Newsom, direct payments totaling $9 billion would be made available to all residents of California who own vehicles that are registered in the state.

This money would come from the surplus in the state’s budget. However, some Democratic senators want to limit the help to people who make less than $125,000, which would leave out California’s wealthier people.

Under his plan, Californians would get direct payments of $400 per car, with a limit of two automobiles per household.

Toni Atkins, President Pro Tempore of the California Senate, and Anthony Rendon,   Speaker of the California Assembly, both said only helping car owners leaves out people who are struggling because prices are going up, but don’t own cars.

Not Enough?

According to CapRadio, Atkins stated earlier this month that “Senate Democrats do not feel a refund related to automobile ownership does the job.”

“Non-car owners, especially Californians with low incomes and the elderly, who are similarly burdened by the present high cost of consumer goods and who also deserve assistance, are excluded from this proposal.”

“That plan is a missed opportunity.”

Instead, Democratic legislators propose sending a payment of $200 to each taxpayer with an annual income of up to $125,000, or to joint filers with an annual income of up to $250,000. Extra payments of $200 per dependant would also be provided.

Because of the impending start of a month-long summer holiday by the state legislature on July 1, precisely at the same time that a three-cent rise in the gas tax is scheduled to go into effect, ongoing budget deliberations might drag on for many more months.

Politico stated Rendon said on Monday that aid checks could be given out “before October.”

According to the data provided by the AAA, the price of gasoline in California, as of Wednesday, was $6.35 a gallon. This is nearly $2 more than the nationwide average price of $4.94 per gallon.