The California legislature is going to miss a May 1 deadline to kill the annual summer increase in its 51-cent gas tax , Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said.
The increase goes against Newsom’s January promise to motorists that he would suspend any tax increases given that the state pays the highest amount in the nation, both in taxes and per gallon. Currently, the average price to fill up is $5.69, according to AAA .
“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,” Newsom’s press office said in a statement.
“The sooner we can move this package through the legislative process, the sooner we can deliver needed relief to Californians,” the office added.
BATTLE RAGES OVER NEWSOM’S FIX FOR 51-CENT GAS TAX
The legislature has nixed several attempts to push through a Republican bill to suspend the entire gas tax for eight months. Democrats cite concern over lost revenue, but the state currently has a $46 billion budget surplus , which could increase by $23 billion after income taxes are tallied.
Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong said he has seen no sense of urgency from the legislature’s leadership to pass a bill nixing the gas tax increase. The state’s Department of Finance has provided the language, but so far, nothing has been done.
“This inaction by Gov. Newsom and Assembly Democrats is completely unacceptable,” said Fong, who is 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.”