SAN DIEGO — San Diego County became the first county in California Tuesday to openly push for a suspension of the state’s 51 cents a gallon gas tax.
“It’s inexcusable to see the pictures of the gas signs at $6 and $7,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond.
Desmond and Supervisor Joel Anderson were successful in their proposal to put forth a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, requesting a one-year suspension of the state’s gas tax. Funds raised from the gas excise tax pay into transportation costs such as road maintenance and repairs, but their letter came in a push to bring down the cost of fuel for drivers at the pumps.
“Many of the folks that live in my district work in construction,” Anderson said. “They couldn’t possibly take public transit no matter how they tried because that’s not how they get to their workplace.”
The vote signifies supervisors will simply send the request up to Sacramento. They do not have the authority to suspend the gas tax themselves. Doing so for a year would cost the state about $6 billion.
State lawmakers currently are touting a budget surplus of more than $45 billion.
Chair Nathan Fletcher supported the motion, but suggested adding to the letter. Fletcher wants to request a way to ensure gas companies actually would cut prices.
“My concern is that the oil companies profit tremendously off of this,” Fletcher said. “You can come in and cut the gas tax and they could keep the price of gas the same or raise it even more.”
Supervisors also say they support any other gas price mitigation measures proposed by the governor like a possible rebate program, but still want to push for this gas tax suspension as well.