Letters to the Editor: Newsom’s gas rebate is straight out of the populist anti-tax playbook

California Gov. Gavin Newsom stands at a lectern with U.S. and California flags behind him.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his annual State of the State address in Sacramento on March 8.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: Americans have a long history of heeding populist anti-tax rhetoric. It often translates into policies that help those who don’t need relief and hurt those who do. (“Facing reelection, Newsom touts the ‘California way’ and teases gas tax rebate,” March 8)

Of course, the gas tax is a favorite target of people who think infrastructure funds itself. In reality, we in the U.S. pay far less for gasoline than most other countries in the developed world. This is because those countries tax fuel at a much higher rate than we do and generally use the proceeds to fund new and rehabilitated infrastructure.

The U.S., on the other hand, has gone from leading the world in infrastructure development to a much lower and deplorable standing. We haven’t raised the federal gas tax since 1993, while some states have imposed marginal increases.


Of course higher fuel prices place an undue burden on lower-income people. So why not learn from other policies that help support those without means? Instead of lowering the price or subsidizing the high price of fuel for those who can afford it, why not address the demand side of the equation and provide “gas stamps” to those truly impacted by high fuel costs?

As gas prices rise, the taxes collected largely remain the same, since gasoline is taxed on the number of gallons sold rather than the price per gallon. Let’s deal with higher prices by focusing on supporting those who need the help.

Michael Schneider, Laguna Beach


To the editor: In his State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom doubled down on no more oil drilling and talked about the “California way.” He has a golden opportunity to satisfy both concerns and make progress toward the goal of reducing our carbon footprint.

I am referring to the net metering proposal for rooftop solar customers currently under review by the California Public Utilities Commission. Newsom has not yet taken a stand other than to say that the proposal needs work.

As California weans itself off oil, it needs more clean energy. Widespread rooftop solar can meet the demand. The current proposal would effectively kill rooftop solar and give a gift to the same electric utilities that have dragged their feet moving to clean energy and have cost the state billions in fires and lost lives.

The public is overwhelmingly opposed to that proposal. To whom are you listening, Gov. Newsom? The utilities or your constituents?

David Rynerson, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Newsom is considering a gas tax rebate. Does this mean electric car owners and non-drivers will get a rebate even though they do not pay a gas tax?

A better solution would be to lower the gas tax.

Evelyn Hatt, Los Angeles