Money gaps emerge in fight over gas tax repeal

Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 21:23:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Californians can expect to see a lot more ads defending the state's recent gas tax increase with just over a month before voters decide its fate.

The state raised the per-gallon gas tax by 12 cents last year and added vehicle registration fees based on value. The taxes and fees are expected to raise $5.4 billion annually for road and highway improvements. But that legislation could be repealed on the November ballot under Prop 6. 

"Our cost of living is too high," said Carl DeMaio, who is running the Yes on 6 gas tax repeal campaign. "The gas tax is an unfair, regressive tax that hits working families the hardest."

But new campaign finance data shows that the campaign to keep the tax rates in place has more than $19 million to spend leading to election day. Many of the biggest contributions are from building contractor groups.

Meanwhile, the two groups pushing for the repeal have about $1.5 million at their disposal.

"We feel strongly that when voters see the improvements that they're seeing right now, and they also see that it's going to prevent further erosion of our streets and roads, they're going to say no to Proposition 6," said Catherine Hill, of the League of California Cities, which supports the gas tax increase. 

The Los Angeles Times is now reporting that Republicans who helped launch the repeal campaign are moving resources away. Gubernatorial Candidate John Cox is one of them, although he expressed optimism in an interview Monday. 

"No, I think the people of this state have had enough of being taxed and the gas tax was a very offensive thing," he said.

The San Diego Association of Governments says about $850 million of Senate Bill 1 funds have already come into the county.