Friday marks 100 days since Governor Gavin Newsom first introduced “a proposal to put money back into the pockets of Californians” amid skyrocketing gas prices, however struggling families state-wide are yet to see results, according to Santa Clarita Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez-Valladares.
When Santa Clarita gas prices began to surpass $6 at local gas stations, Governor Newsom promised to send $400 to Californians per each registered vehicle – a move putting money back into the pockets of car owners, even the state’s highest-income residents.
“It has been 100 days since the Governor promised in his State of the State speech to provide Californians with relief from soaring gas prices, but families are still struggling,” Martinez-Valladares said.
While Newsom’s gas tax rebate was originally planned to be dispersed at some point in July, legislative leaders have reached a stalemate between suspending the California gas tax and issuing tax rebates.
“He has introduced proposals, the majority party has introduced proposals, and I have joined my colleagues in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to introduce a bill that ensures the gas tax cut will go directly to consumers,” Martinez-Valladares said. “But we have seen no action from the majority leadership in the legislature or any sense of urgency from the Governor.”
Despite an estimated $97 billion budget surplus, California officials continue negotiations about how to tackle the gas tax increase, meanwhile, citizens continue to struggle to make ends meet.
“Manny, a local floor installer, is spending $150 to fill up his truck twice a week. He needs his truck to work, so he can’t switch to an electric vehicle,” Martinez-Valladares said. “He’s even spent the night in his truck to save money on the commute.”
While many states have enacted plans to ease the financial burden of rising gas prices in March, California – with the highest gas tax prices in the country at 51 cents per gallon – has yet to receive relief, especially full-time college students who have little time and means to work, simply to afford gasoline.
“Forty-nine percent of California State University Northridge students commute, and I recently heard from a student who is spending $200 a week on gas to get to school,” Martinez-Valladares said. “It’s so bad that he sometimes skips class because gas is just too expensive. These are real people who are struggling and they need real solutions, now.”
With gas prices only continuing to increase, Martinez-Valladares is urging the Governor and the Legislature to come to an agreement.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, and I urge the Governor and the Legislature to suspend the gas tax now and reduce the price of gas by 51 cents a gallon for all struggling families,” Martinez-Valladares said.
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