By Betty Plowman – Northern California Service Director CCTA
A newly formed coalition that is taking a stand against a fuel tax increase set for January 1, 2015, held its kick-off event at 3B’s Truck and Auto Plaza in Lodi on May 23, 2014.
The group is calling the state mandated increase a hidden, regressive tax created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) without voter approval or approval of state legislators. The CARB created price increase under is a result of its “Fuels Under The Cap” regulations, part of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed in 2006.
Ron Van De Pol, a coalition member and president of Van De Pol Enterprises, Inc. said many Californians do not realize the increase going into effect and how this “hidden tax” will apply to both gasoline and diesel.
“In the Central Valley, we’ve had a lot of unemployment over the years and we are just now beginning to recover,” he said. “Every family and hardworking household has to get to work, and every increase impacts their budgets.”
Betty Plowman, Northern Membership Director for the California Construction Trucking Association said, “The construction industry has been particularly hard-hit by the recession, beginning with the housing bust which began to in 2007. This hidden tax will have a huge negative impact on our industry as we continue to struggle in these tough economic times.”
San Joaquin County Farm Bureau Executive Director Bruce Blodgett said, “These fuel increases will affect not only motorists, but also the agricultural commodities that farmers provide. We have approximately 350 commodities our farmers grow in this county that are trucked to distribution centers and then trucked to grocery stores,” Blodgett said. “Every one of these steps taken to transport agricultural products to residents will be hit.”
State Senator Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, said California already has the highest fuel prices in the country and called the increase a tax that will affect families across the state, still reeling from the recession of 2007.
“We are already suffering in the Central Valley because of the ongoing drought,” Videk said adding, “This is a tax increase that will affect families across the state.
Californians currently pay 71 cents per gallon in taxes each time they fill their tanks, according to the State Board of Equalization. This’s the highest in the country, compared to the average American paying about 50 cents per gallon, according to Fed Up At the Pump organizers.
The group plans to hold rallies and events throughout California this year.
For more information, visit www.fedupatthepump.org