RANTZ & RAVEZ-I am sure like most voters you have felt duped in previous elections when you were promised one thing for agreeing to tax increases but ended up with something else that was hiding deep in the proposition.
Hidden and misleading text has diverted millions of dollars to other projects that had little or nothing to do with what you voted for. Sadly, it’s not that unusual for government to pull a “bait and switch” on you. As trusting voters, you may have believed that political leaders and the “system” were honest.
I would think by now, though, that you would be more cautious about trusting the sneaky tactics of some politicians who propose an additional tax increase, even for something you generally support. One would think that after being fooled so many times over the years we’d all have learned to be careful when assessing ballot propositions dealing with any tax. I am referring to your property tax, sales tax and a host of other taxes that are routinely pushed on you with ballot measures.
In California, there is a rule called “218” which requires a vote of the people for certain tax increases. The voters decide if it is needed and it can only pass if a certain percentage of you support it. If not, it fails. The problem in California is that the taxes that require a 218 vote by the people usually pass and the consequence is an additional tax burden on each of us. Once a measure passes, the hidden language tells the real story about where the money will go.
Ask yourself this simple question: Have you ever read the full text of any ballot proposition? I don’t mean the bold type describing the measure. I mean the meat of it. I bet most of you have other activities in your life and don’t have the time or interest to do this. Considering the small number of people who actually vote in an election, most likely the only ones who read the full text are the political staff members who drafted the measure in the first place.
Now that I have brought this to your attention, here’s the most recent issue you should know about: fuel and car tax increases. Currently, there is a move to repeal the two taxes, which I totally support because it was not put to the voters for a vote. It was pushed by the Governor and supported by the majority of the State Assembly and Senate. We all feel the impact whenever we register our cars and fuel our vehicles. With gas prices approaching the $4 range, the gas tax is currently as follows:
Gas Tax Per Gallon: Federal $.186; California $.437; Sales Tax 4.25%.
Diesel Tax Per Gallon: Federal $.246; California $.380; Sales Tax 15.0%
An example of the registration increase is my motorcycle. A 2015 motorcycle went from $208 in 2017 to $256 in 2018. Quite an increase in such a short time.
I invite you to compare your registration increases to see how much more you are being forced to pay to operate your vehicles on our deteriorating and crumbling roads despite the $5.2 billion that is being generated for the state. I am sure you are driving on the same rough roads with no improvements!
When you examine the annual $5.2 billion derived from the car registration increase and the gas and diesel taxes, here’s where we have the “switch”: millions are going to go to help support the 2028 Olympics with transportation related issues. Like I mentioned, we are promised one thing then it turns out that other expenditures that have nothing to do with the sales pitch are part of the plan.
Something to think about when you have a chance to vote to repeal the gas tax and car registration increases.
(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County. He is a candidate for the upcoming Assembly District 45 election.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.