Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most recent proposal to combat sky-high gas prices is already proving to be more malleable than anticipated.
Newsom announced Wednesday a proposed $400-per-vehicle rebate to California drivers of all income levels and a freeze on the planned inflationary increase to the state’s gas excise tax.
The proposal was not met with universal acclaim by the two top leaders of the California State Legislature, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D–Paramount) and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D–San Diego).
The pair and other lawmakers have pressed for a $400 tax rebate for Californians regardless of vehicle ownership or driver’s licensure. The proposal, however, is tied to means testing – limiting the rebate to those in lower income levels.
Thursday, one day removed from his proposal announcement, Newsom said that he would be willing to drop the universal vehicle rebate and consider the introduction of means testing for his rebate.
NEW: @GavinNewsom said he's open to targeting $400-per-vehicle plan to lower-income Californians, as #CALeg leaders want:— Jeremy B. White (@JeremyBWhite) March 24, 2022
“Open to working with the Legislature if they want to create a framework of means testing," Newsom says, perhaps based on vehicle value
The announcement prompted strong reaction from Republican lawmakers, many of whom have led efforts to create a six-month gas tax holiday that would save California drivers 51 cents per gallon at the pumps.
Corrupt politicians will always prefer "rebates" to actual tax relief because that keeps them in charge of who gets the money and when it's delivered.— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) March 24, 2022