WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Josh Harder sent a letter to California state legislative leaders urging them to implement a gas tax rebate and take immediate action to lower prices by cutting the gas tax. California drivers continue to face the highest gas prices in the nation. Families in San Joaquin County will pay an average of $5.66 per gallon today, according to AAA.
“Families in the Central Valley are getting squeezed from all directions right now and I’m tired of government making the problem worse,” said Rep. Harder. “We have the power to cut the gas tax today and use gas tax rebates to put that money directly into the pockets of hard working families, so let’s hurry up and do it.”
Rep. Harder has been leading the charge to tackle gas prices for months. In November, he urged leaders in Sacramento to suspend any future increases in the tax. In December, he wrote directly to Governor Newsom urging him to immediately cut the gas tax and published an op-ed in Fox Business titled I’m a Democrat and it’s time for our government to stop making gas more expensive. In February, he introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax.
Read Rep. Harder’s letter below and online here:
Dear President of the Senate Kounalakis, President pro Tempore Atkins, Speaker Rendon, and Speaker pro Tempore Mullin:
Due to the recent increase in California’s already high gas prices, I write today urging you to take immediate action to provide financial relief to millions of Californians by reducing the price of gas.
We are in a time of crisis where families across California, including in my home community of the Central Valley, are having to choose between commuting to work and buying groceries. Yet, the State of California has a historically high estimated budget surplus of $31 billion for this upcoming fiscal year. I urge the state legislature to use this surplus to lower gas prices, including but not limited to enacting the Gas tax rebate, putting money back into the pockets of hard working Californians.
Let me be clear, while I support the Gas tax rebate, it is just a promising start to ending unsustainable gas prices. It is critical that we enact this rebate in a manner that gets money directly in the hands of Californians as soon as possible. When implementing this rebate, I urge you to prioritize communities, such as the Central Valley, who are hit hardest by the increasing gas prices with the lowest wages across the state.
In light of gas prices skyrocketing, it is especially concerning that the legislature rejected a proposal that would immediately lower gas prices. California has the highest gas prices in the nation. With the rising costs of inflation, middle class California families are in dire need of relief. It’s time to come together to create an all the above approach to send relief to Californians immediately.
The annual gas tax is set to increase this July from 51.1 to 53.9 cents per gallon. The reason for this increase is, in part, to help fund environmental and infrastructure priorities. I am an ardent supporter of both these efforts. However, with the influx of federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (PL 117 – 58), California stands to gain tens of billions of dollars for both these priorities. We must recognize that we are in a time of crisis. The need to pause this tax increase and provide immediate relief to Californians is now.
I urge you to work with Governor Newsom to pass a comprehensive plan to lower gas prices by enacting the Gas tax rebate among other legislative proposals to make living in California affordable. Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.
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