California · Politics

Salas catches flak over missed votes to halt gas tax

Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) is, once again, in the line of fire for tough votes on California’s gas tax.

This time, however, it centers on missing and abstaining from votes to alter California’s gas tax amid the pinch felt by Golden State drivers due to soaring gas prices.

For the second time in two weeks, Salas missed a procedural vote to force expedited consideration of a bill to freeze California’s highest-in-the-nation gas tax, a move that would save drivers 51 cents per gallon at the pumps.

The procedural vote, sought by Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher (R–Yuba City) and Asm. Kevin Kiley (R–Rocklin), was tendered last week and saw more than half of the San Joaquin Valley Assembly delegation fail to appear to vote.

Shortly after the scuttled maneuver, a coalition of 10 Democratic lawmakers and one independent offered their own counterproposal: $400 tax relief checks, tied to income levels.

Salas was not a member of the 11-member coalition proposing

Thursday morning, amid Gallagher and Kiley’s second attempt to force a vote on a gas tax holiday, Salas – once again – did not register a vote.

Salas’ silence on the gas tax issue is particularly notable.

In 2017, the Bakersfield lawmaker was the lone Democrat to vote against Senate Bill 1, the measure that created an inflation-tied increase to the state’s gasoline excise tax.

The measure passed through the Assembly with the bare minimum number of votes, 54, to enact a tax increase.

Since announcing his bid for Congress, Salas has highlighted his vote against the five-year-old gas tax increase repeatedly.

Pain at pump prompts ‘potato’ fight

Salas’ second abstention on the gas tax holiday prompted Republican operatives to call out the veteran lawmaker for failing to fight for lower gas prices during a gas price spike.

Aaron Vad, Salas’ legislative director, said that Salas’ absence was due to a family funeral, but not before referring to the NRCC’s top spokeswoman as a “potato.”

The line prompted heavy responses from GOP operatives over perceived sexism.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.