Because of the crusade against global warming, former Governor Schwarzenegger and former Speaker Fabian Nunez implemented AB 32, which claimed to provide solutions on the issue. As part of the law, gas taxes are going to be added next year that range from 16 to 76 cents more a gallon, depending on what the California Air Resources Board decides.
Democratic Party Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) teamed up with several members in his party to freeze the increased costs in AB 69, but the bill to freeze the taxes was prevented from moving through the committees by Senate President Steinberg (D-Sacramento). Legislators such as Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto), Norma Torres (D-Pomona) and Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) have supported this effort, but my opponent (D-Chino) has not taken a stand on this issue. She claims to be an advocate of working families, but this new tax increase is very regressive to those who need to go to work and do other errands, in their daily lives.
Democrats and their environmentalist friends want to get people off the roads, but if there are no convenient ways to get to work without driving, then this gas tax is uncalled for. The Inland Valleys of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties are not famous for their public transportation systems. You might live in a public transportation desert where it would be very difficult to dump the pump. Going to Corona from Ontario is nearly impossible with limited solutions with public transit. People remain tied to their vehicle due to the lack of convenient options.
We who live and work in the Inland Valley are being penalized for living where we live. It is tough to find employment any closer, and many of us are thankful for the jobs we have for the time being. If the gas tax is raised to the median increase of 46 cents and your gas tank holds 15 gallons, expect 350 dollars a year out of your pocket for your weekly refill. For those who live paycheck to paycheck, this is money that comes straight out of their pocketbooks.
Not all of us are Prius Environmentalists, many of us value clean air and less carbon monoxide in our communities. However the proponents of environmental legislation need to understand that there is a cost to regulations, and not all of us can afford to pay them. California is not New York City, and our communities were designed for the motor vehicle. It should be up to counties and cities to determine their taxation and transportation policies instead of Sacramento.
Matthew Munson is the 20th Senate District Candidate for the November election running under the Republican Party.