Initiative to repeal gas tax qualifies for ballot

SAN DIEGO — An initiative led by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio that would repeal last year’s gas-tax increase in California will be on the statewide ballot in November, state officials announced Monday.

The Gas Tax Repeal Initiative needed 643,948 projected valid petition signatures statewide, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office Monday said that target estimate was exceeded.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who along with state Democratic leaders pushed for the gas tax increase to fix California’s roads and bridges, blasted the initiative to repeal it.

“This flawed and dangerous measure pushed by Trump’s Washington allies jeopardizes the safety of millions of Californians by stopping local communities from fixing their crumbling roads and bridges. Just say no,” Brown said in a statement.

A campaign financed by national Republican leaders, including GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox, spent $1.7 million to put the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative on the ballot.

DeMaio, chairman of Reform California and a conservative talk show host on KOGO Radio, spearheaded the effort in San Diego.

“We are thrilled by the successful qualification of the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative and this is a huge win for the tens of thousands dedicated and organized grass roots volunteers who helped collect signatures,” DeMaio said.

State law requires the signatures of 8 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial general election, for an initiative to make it to the ballot.

But if the number of signatures is estimated using sampling of the petitions, the law sets the minimum target 10 percent higher, and that was the target that was made Monday, Padilla’s office said Monday.