Record breaking tax increases pass in California

On April 1, taxes on cigarettes tripled and on April 28, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill No. 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, raising tax on gas by 12 cents per gallon. This jump in tax is the highest in state history.

California drivers will also pay a new registration fee, from $25 to $175, depending on the vehicle. Electric vehicles will also pay a $100 fee starting in July 2020.

This tax will raise California to second on the list of highest tax on gas. The cigarette tax puts California ninth.

Tax on gas has not increased in over 23 years and not increased in 18 years for cigarettes.

Increases on gas tax will begin on Nov. 1. The bill took Brown 10 days to pass.

On Nov. 1, gas taxes will be raised 12 cents per gallon, and diesel taxes will be 20 cents per gallon. This money will go toward fixing local streets, roads and highways. The bill is planned to reach $52 billion over the next 10 years.

A base tax is now 18 cents per gallon, plus a sales tax between 9 and 10 cents, depending on price of gas. California is one in six states to add a sales tax on gas.

Also, a 18.4-cent tax is being added on for the federal tax per gallon.

On Nov. 1, base tax will be 30 cents a gallon plus a 2-cent tax will be added for the underground storage tanks, and a 9 to 10-cent sales tax. This will leave gas around 59 to 60 cents, depending on gas prices.

Bernard Raymundo, nursing major, said, he does not think this tax will affect his driving routine. He thinks this will encourage him to making more money, but not changing his life drastically.

But the inflation over the next few years inflation will impact prices.

The California Board of Equalization states on July 1, 2019 base tax will be 47.3 cents per gallon, plus federal tax, sales tax and underground ground storage fee.

California will hit a total of 76.7 cents per gallon. This leaves California one cent behind Pennsylvania for highest tax on gas.

“I believe it is a bit excessive for gas to be raised this much,” chemistry major, Miguel Martinez said. “We already use gas on a daily basis, and our state is well populated, so I think this tax too high.”

On April 1, cigarettes went up from 87 cents per pack to $2.87. Also, a $1.01 federal tax is added to the total.

Electric cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products are also being taxed 27.20 percent of wholesale cost of product.

“I don’t think this is the right method to stop people from smoking,” Victoria Gonzalez, psychology major, said. “Habits kill, people are still going to smoke regardless of the price”.

On average, cigarette tax is $1.69 per pack in the United States.

Oregon, Nevada and Arizona are a $2 tax or under per pack.

Martinez said he thinks more people will eventually travel and stock up on their cigarettes, and this will take away revenue from California.

This tax is aiming for $1.4 billion during 2017-2018. 82 percent will go toward Medi-Cal services.

“I’m on the fence, one side I believe it is a good way for people to quit, but on the other side people are already addicted, and the price won’t make a difference,” business major Nick Dodds said.

Dodds said he hopes they use this money for tobacco prevention programs and healthcare.

The bill says by the end of 2027 at least 98 percent of highway, and local roads will be in good or fair condition.

“I do think it is a good idea to raise taxes on gas,” Raymundo said. “Our roads do need a lot of work.”

The bill is estimated to create 13,000 jobs for each billion spent. Although jobs will be created, a problem with pollution may rise.

Pollution could increase over these next years. The Los Angeles Times wrote an article stating owners of big rig trucks no longer have to fix their vehicles until they reach 13 years of use or 800,000 miles. The article said some truck owners would be able to operate their rigs for up to 18 years.

Gas will see a huge increase over these next 10 years, and a pack of cigarettes will no longer be a cheap habit.



2nd semester with the clarion. Michael is a photographer, designer and writer.