California · Energy

Calif. Democratic lawmakers belatedly hit panic button over gas tax increase

State lawmakers are now trying to take new action in response to skyrocketing gas prices.

A group of 13 Assembly Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders, urging they postpone the 3-cent inflationary increase to the state’s gas tax for a year.

In the letter, they wrote, “the cost of doing nothing is unacceptable.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom originally proposed the idea in January, but it needed legislative approval by May 1 in order to stop it from going into effect July 1.

Lawmakers let that deadline pass without putting together a bill, with legislative leaders concerned the idea would take away key funding from road projects.

Now, pointing to the state’s $100 billion budget surplus, some Democrats are changing course.

But Newsom’s Department of Finance confirmed Friday that the window for that pause on the gas tax closed when lawmakers didn’t take action. The California Department of Taxes and Fee administration needs 60 days to make the change.

Get the full story: Read more.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.