Ventura County Begins Prop. 6 Gas Tax Repeal Campaign- “It’s The Robin Hood Act!…”

Reform California Head Carl DeMaio at 7-29-18 VC Prop 6 as tax repeal meeting. Photo: Michael Hernandez, CitizensJournal.us

By George Miller

Politician Carl DeMaio of http://reformcalifornia.org, successful organizer who put the Prop 6 Gas Tax repeal on the California November ballot, held a Ventura County campaign kickoff Sunday night, 7-29-18. About 130 people showed up at the Community Center Park auditorium in Camarillo to hear him and two popular candidates, who also strongly support the repeal- Oak Park attorney Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy -AD44 and Westlake actor-model Antonio Sabato, Jr.- CD26. Similar events are being done all over California.

DeMaio stated the case for the Prop 6 gas tax repeal http://GasTaxRepeal.org and solicited supporters’ help. He conceded that money is needed for road maintenance. But, his arguments consist of claims that the state already has sufficient funds, but that they have been “stolen” by the politicians. By this, he explained that they have been diverted to other areas, in some cases illegally. His group intends to expose the misuse of the gas tax and other funds to help shoot down the 2017 legislation and replace it with Prop 6 language. Reform California is getting an accounting of gas tax expenditures and intends to inform the public about them.

DeMaio asked the rhetorical question of how can you trust the politicians to spend the money on roads when some have declared their hatred for automobiles? He described it as “It’s the Robin Hood Act- Stealing our dollars back from the politicians!”

He further informed us that Prop 6 would roll back the gas tax passed last year, cut much red tape for road projects, end some union agreements about such projects. It would restrict transportation projects from gas/car taxes to “concrete and asphalt and ensure that 100% of car sales tax money would be restricted to “intermodal transportation.”

Carl DeMaio, Reform California, on Prop 6- #RobinHoodAct :

“It’s the Robin Hood Act- Stealing our dollars back from the politicians!”

He said that the gas tax costs the average family of four an extra $779.28 annually, over and above the already high gas and other taxes, making it harder and harder to survive in CA.  At one point he asked for a show of hands of who knew people that were driven out of the state. A comfortable majority of hands went up. He asserted that the gas tax also has loopholes that allow money collected to be spent for other purposes and added that CalTrans is very wasteful of taxpayer funds.

About 130 people came to the Prop 6 Repeal Ventura County kickoff meeting. on 7-29-18 in Camarillo. Photo: George Miller- CitizensJournal.us

None of the new gas tax includes previous gas and car taxes, or the “cap and trade” tax, which is levied directly on refiners and is buried in the price consumers pay. He claimed California has the second highest gas tax in the country and the worst roads.

We didn’t see much evidence at this meeting of claimed multipartisan support. Based on my observations and asking around, there were few there who weren’t identified as strong Conservatives. It looked like many, but not all core supporters. But it was surprising to see so many there for a Sunday night serious political meeting . It might be an indicator of the depth of support for the repeal, or maybe there was just nothing good on TV. DeMaio proposed that this group and local candidates form the core of County opposition to pass Prop 6 in November.  But the taxes hit people of all political persuasions; the working poor and middle class are hit the hardest, stand to lose the most and will be persuaded to turn out, approve Prop 6 and thereby defeat the gas tax, he insisted.

DeMaio warned that the recently passed Prop 69– so called “Lockbox” for transportation money- does nothing of the sort and also allows money to be spent elsewhere, for things only tangentially-related to transportation, including parks, universities and studies. One was a study about roads. DeMaio said- it was better to build them than study them.. It passed with 80% support.

Representatives of several different local and national activist groups were there, intending to help but do not yet want publicity.

Organizers took names and passed out information cards like this:

DeMaio Solicits Help

He solicited the group’s assistance and support, via publicizing the measure and reasons why it is needed- yard signs, gas pump stickers, op-ed articles, letters to editor, social media, rallies, clubs, political party organizations, volunteer at home, etc., while exposing opponents’ lies about Prop 6 and misuse of other taxes intended for roads. He asked each attendee to sign up five friends/associates and to let them know about opposition ads and events. Nothing was mentioned about a get out the vote program and response to our question about a media campaign was rather vague. An emailed request to DeMaio for a statement on the meeting outcome or phone interview was still unanswered at publication time.

 

Pundits Predicted Defeat

DeMaio pointed out the left, right and media predicted that there wasn’t sufficient support for the repeal, that he would never raise the estimated $8 million needed to get signatures, that he would never get the signatures needed to put it on the ballot. But, not only did his team do it, but they had 20,000 individual  volunteers to collect signatures. They collected about 250,000 at nearly zero cost, greatly reducing the amount of money needed to get the necessary signatures,  due to the surprisingly strong multipartisan support.

He also gloated over the successful recall of Republican State Senator gas tax turncoat Josh Newman, which signals that future rebellion will be dealt with harshly. On the other hand, he gave Kevin McCarthy and Mimi Walters credit for standing up and committing to raising matching funds. About $2.8 million was raised to do the petition campaign. Now much more is needed to get the word out to a huge state of 40 million people.

 

Putting Together a Winning Majority

With CA Republican registration down to only about 25%, Prop 6 can’t be passed just by the party majority. Many of the so-called “Decline to State” (DTS) voter registrants tend to support Republicans, but not enough to pass this measure, So advocates plan to peel away many working class voters- DTS and even Democrat voters- who are being crushed by taxes and fees, including the gas tax and are finding it very hard to stay afloat financially. Gas and car taxes were already among the highest in the country even before the tax was enacted.

They plan to rely heavily upon candidates to support Prop 6 and work it into their platforms. Two of the candidates present had something to say:

Antonio Sabato Jr.

(Summarized by candidate Antonio Sabato, Jr. afterward): I’m glad I could be there this evening to lend support on repealing the Gas Tax. All over America, the democrats are being taken over by the far left. They think more taxes, more government, more invasion of your privacy, more control over your business and life is good for you. They think they know better than you how you should live your life. Who knows how to live your life better–a bureaucrat in Sacramento or Washington, or you?

We need to send Sacramento and Washington a message that it’s time stop this insanity. We need to vote YES on the gas tax repeal and vote for Republicans committed to stopping frivolous taxation and government regulations.
Antonio Sabato, Jr., CD26 candidate

Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy

AD44 Ronda Baldwin-Kennedy’s comments were more focused on the Gas tax Repeal, which she strongly supports for pretty much the same reasons as Carl DeMaio does. She has been saying all along that CA has the money but it has been misappropriated/redirected to pet projects. Ronda said she is one of the top three Republican prospects with the potential to block a 2/3 Democrat supermajority in the CA legislature, needed to block new taxes.. She also emphasized that the repeal is not possible without some Democrat (and DTS)voter support .

 

She vowed to “take the seat in Sacramento that (incumbent) Jacqui Irwin has been keeping warm for me.” She vowed to insist that other Republicans not vote for any taxes. “I’m the one in the playground to take down the bully,” she intoned. She said she will help deliver a Christmas present of Prop 6 passage.  She said she will be boots on the ground for Prop 6. She declared that “we won two battles and now need to win the war.”

We heard from Baldwin-Kennedy’s campaign staff that Governor Candidate John Cox endorsed her that afternoon at a Jewish republican (there are more than you probably think) meeting in Beverly Hills.

 

Thousand Oaks City Council candidate Tom Adams was introduced.

 

Opposition

Opponents of Prop 6,who are gas tax advocates, claim that the state otherwise lacks funding to maintain the roads and that the road infrastructure has much deferred maintenance. They say that the gas and car taxes are vital. Some say that road expansion funds are also needed, while others do not want to expand the road system. Some are bitter enemies of fossil-fueled vehicles and want to phase out automobiles altogether, by making it too difficult and expensive to own them.  They wish instead to rely more heavily on mass transit and “walkable” communities. They cite greenhouse gases/”Global Warming” as the primary justification. Some of these same players have been responsible for the diversion of funds and backfilling with the gas tax. DeMaio hyperbolically mimicked imaginary opponents with exaggerated mannerisms, exclaiming: “Cars-EVIL! Climate Change! We must destroy them! The government can make a better decision for you!”

DeMaio: The Democrats don’t give a rap about the working poor. If you believe them, I have a bullet train I want to sell you.

DeMaio claimed that Governor Jerry Brown vowed to raise $75 million to fight Prop 6.

 

What happens to California road repairs if voters repeal the gas tax …

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214600210.html

Jul 11, 2018 – If California voters choose to repeal a recent gas tax increase in the … the new fees created when lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1 last year.

 

Nearly all of our local state legislators voted for the gas tax: AD44 Jacqui Irwin, AD37 Monique Limon, AD45 Dabebnah (since resigned), SD19 Hannah-Beth Jackson, SD27 Henry Stern. Only Scott Wilk- SD21 and Dante Acosta AD38, both Republicans, did not. See vote tallies.

 

Original event announcement

Fed Up at the Pump | Yes on Prop 6 – #MakeItHappenVenutra – Sunday July 29th

Fed Up at the Pump | Yes on Prop 6 – #MakeItHappenVenutra – Sunday July 29th

Fed up filling up at the pump? California has the second highest GAS TAX prices in the nation! Sacramento taxes drivers $.75 a gallon, second highest in the nation after Pennsylvania.

 

Relevant materials

Prop 6 text:  California Proposition 6, Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle …

Bill Text – SB-1 Transportation funding. – California Legislative …

California Proposition 69, Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox …

The Top Seven Facts About the Gas Tax Hike

Vote on gax tax increase in California Senate | The Sacramento Bee

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article143237054.html

Apr 6, 2017 – The California Legislature on Thursday, April 6, 2017 passed a sweeping $52 billion transportation plan that would raise California gas taxes ..

 

Editor’s note: Citizens Journal solicits both pro and con arguments on Prop 6: editor@citizensjournal.us


George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard. 


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7 Responses to Ventura County Begins Prop. 6 Gas Tax Repeal Campaign- “It’s The Robin Hood Act!…”

  1. Bruce Boyer August 1, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Tax the bikes! Oregon is trying that.. not working out… the tax does not go for roads for the gas it taxes. The existing gas taxes do not allthough they are to as required by law… Look at the DMV fees pie chart; much of the DMV fees is used for non-roadway expenses. Now if you want to boast that our CHP has the largest most expansive compensation, benefits and pensions o f any State; YOU can brag; I am disgusted and that is where OUR tax money goes!

    Reply
    • William Hicks August 2, 2018 at 9:12 am

      True that Bruce!

      My point on the bike lanes is that we lost a whole car lane in many streets in Thousand Oaks to provide a politically correct but seldom used benefit to a very small number of people in comparison the car drivers. I’m sure with a little more imagination we can think of other things that our gas tax is going to that has little to NO relationship with repairing and maintaining our roads.

      Reply
      • Citizen Reporter August 2, 2018 at 9:19 am

        Yes, Mr. Hicks. They call that a “road diet” or “calming lanes,” designed to actually impede traffic, in the name of safety and “sustainability.” Note which council members support such things and remember in November.

        Reply
  2. Sheryl August 1, 2018 at 7:56 am

    See pie chart. With only 59% of the gas tax going to infrastructure, it is hard to call this tax a road bill. Debt? Pensions? There is sufficiently vague language in the gas tax allowing it to be used many places other than roads and transportation.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/01/gas-tax-where-does-the-money-actually-go/

    Reply
  3. Laura Espinosa July 31, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    The previous comment from William Hicks does not acknowledge that the cyclists ARE paying their fair share of the upkeep of roads as most own cars and purchase gas, however, are trying to sustain the upkeep of the roads and the environment (air quality) by using bicycles. This is an EASY concept for most to understand but my hats off to those who are committed to actually doing it.

    Reply
    • William Hicks August 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Sorry Laura, you’re profoundly wrong. A cyclist can ride their bike in both the car lane and the bike lane. A car driven in the bike lane is cause for a ticket.

      So, as long as the bike lane is for the exclusive use of bikes, bike owners should pay for their fair portion of the cost for bike lanes.

      Reply
  4. William Hicks July 31, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Maybe if our local cities weren’t accepting grants for bike lanes, the existing gas tax would be sufficient for road upkeep.

    What’s wrong with cyclists paying their fair share of the upkeep of roads considering that automobile drivers are required to “share the road” with cyclists?

    Reply

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