To the editor: California’s gas tax increase, which The Times Editorial Board encourages voters to retain by rejecting Proposition 6, hits hardest the drivers who can least afford it. When Gov. Jerry Brown was elected, he promised the people of California that he would enact no new taxes without voter approval.
Your editorial tries to make this a national issue, but California has the second-highest gasoline prices in the U.S., behind only Hawaii. Your editorial mentions House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose state has an average gas price of $2.63, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, whose state has an average gas price of $2.32 per gallon.
California has the highest poverty rate in the United States, and this unfair tax must be eliminated so our working people, students and senior citizens can survive and prosper.
Steve Keller, Mission Viejo
To the editor: The editorial board is right in opposing the repeal of the gas tax.
There are more than 25 million personal autos registered in California; if you include motorcycles, commercial vehicles and other classes of transport, that number jumps to higher than 35 million. The next state, Texas, has about 22 million vehicles.
The wear and tear on our roads is incredible, and if you have a tire puncture on one of our craggy freeways, it can cost about $400 for a new tire. By comparison, 12 cents more per gallon of gas is a pittance.
The money raised by this tax is justifiable to repair our roads and keep us safe.
Efren Manjarrez, Glendale
To the editor: I disagree with you on Proposition 6.
The 12-cent increase is too much, too soon. It would have been better to have spread it out over some years.
The gas tax is regressive. It does not hurt me, but it certainly punishes the working poor, those with the least disposable income likely to drive older, less efficient vehicles. It would have been more equitable to pass a graduated sales tax on cars. The tax also punishes people who live in small towns or in rural areas without public transportation options.
The tax increase was rammed down our throats without public input. Voters might well have supported a graduated tax increase, but we were not given an opportunity to express our opinions.
Dan Ford, Encino