Letter to the Editor: Gas Tax is Bad Policy

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Former councilman and defeated assembly candidate Keith Curry is upset that the current council refused apply for gas tax money.

The Council refused to apply for Governor Brown’s gas tax because the state would use Newport’s and other cities’ applications for “free money” as proof that the citizens want the gas tax.

There is a repeal of the gas tax underway (nocagastax.com) and will likely be on the November 2018 ballot. The city council felt that the big picture of getting rid of the gas tax for all Californians was more important.

I know it is an anathema for a big government advocate to understand that some things are more important than higher taxes and bigger government. Giving more money to Sacramento and CalTrans who already mismanage billions of dollars is foolish.

This Democrat Party passed the gas tax (sorry to be partisan, but only one Republican voted for it), which will raise the State Gas Tax from 40.6 to 58.3 cents/gallon, second only to Pennsylvania at 59.3. Registration and excise taxes go up for every car as well. Even those electric cars (the ones that Jerry Brown wants you to buy to keep those greenhouse gases low) must pay $100/year extra to make up for the fact that they do not pay gas taxes.

Right now, California has the second highest cost for Gasoline (we are behind Hawaii by one cent per gallon). In November, once the tax kicks in, CA will likely be the highest price per gallon in the U.S.

The Poor, of course, are the hardest hit as they tend to commute longer distances and pay a much larger percentage of their income on transportation. Of course, every product (think Amazon) gets shipped so all costs will go up to pay the tax.

As a councilman, Curry used to openly boast about Newport Beach’s lack of potholes in its roads. Now in his latest editorial, he claims that the “Gas Tax” funds that the current Council voted to reject were “needed state funds to improve our streets, specifically MacArthur and University.” 

The Council did not include any income from the Gas Tax in this years’ budget, and our roads will continue to be of the same standard that we are used to.

Special kudos to Councilman Jeff Herdman to stand up against the Curry doublespeak to vote for the taxpayers and not the big government tax and spend types.

Amusingly, Curry claims, “In the last council meeting we experienced one of the most irresponsible and ideologically misguided acts in recent memory.” 

Curry must have forgotten the $255,000,000 Civic Center (including debt service), as well as the $232,000,000 (principal and interest) of “non-refinance-able” Civic Center debt he saddled the City of Newport Beach with.

The $480K of unguaranteed Gas Tax funds, that the Council is eligible to apply for, equals less than 0.2 percent of the amount of Civic Center Debt that Curry left Newport Beach taxpayers. 

 Scott Peotter

Newport Beach City Councilman

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