RANTZ AND RAVEZ-If you check past California records, you will find that our voters have passed a number of measures to repair the roads, strengthen and repair bridges around the state and complete a variety of other transportation related projects in our so-called Golden State. While Governor Brown has dedicated billions of dollars to build the Bullet Train from nowhere to nowhere, we all manage our finances and tighten our belts to make ends meet.
Unlike us, the State of California and many elected officials have an easy answer to financial needs: raise taxes and fees as high as you can. The people paying the taxes and fees will most likely go along with these increases without much opposition. The California State Senate and Assembly have approved the latest move by California and Governor Brown. Few of the elected state officials have voiced any opposition or voted NO. Unfortunately, not enough have had the courage to Just Say No to the massive increase.
The details are pretty clear and will impact everyone driving gas or diesel vehicles in California. It is anticipated that the increase in fuel tax and car registration fees will haul in $5.2 billion annually. Along with the gas tax increase, the car registration fee will increase and ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle. The more expensive the car, the higher the new added fee.
Electric car owners will now pay a flat fee of $100 a year. This is because they are not paying any gas tax fee. The money is going to be directed to repair the many roads, highways and bridges in California. The gridlock situation in our state is expected to receive $7 billion over the first decade.
For your information, the current gas taxes in Los Angeles are: Federal--$.184, State--$.278 and local--9.00%. Add to this the recently approved additional gas and diesel tax and the additional registration fees we will all be paying very soon. We did not to have an opportunity to vote on this matter. Our State elected officials did it all from both the Assembly and Senate. We will see how soon the money hits the roads in California and in your neighborhood.
Along with increases in the fees, there will be an increase in the cost of products. Delivery of products will increase and each and every sector of our economy dealing with transportation and related fields will see an increase in cost to consumers. I bet you did not even think about this impact resulting from the gas/diesel and vehicle registration fee increases. That’s more taxes and more fees and more of your hard earned dollar flying out of your wallet. The $15 an hour minimum wage increase taking effect in the next few years will slowly evaporate given the increase costs for nearly every product we consume. Something to think about when you realize what our elected officials are doing to us.
While I am on the subject of taxes and fees, I must mention the growing homeless population in Los Angeles. Remember that voters in the City of LA passed a $1.2 billion tax increase to address homelessness and the County of LA passed a ¼% sales tax increase for the entire County to provide services to the homeless.
Here’s an update: Look around your neighborhood and see if the homeless situation is improving at all. In my neighborhood, there are more and more homeless people living on the streets and more hypo needles in the gutters. I must note that the County of LA has brought 50 people together to try and figure out what to do with the ¼% sales tax increase dollars. Whenever you get 50 people together to decide how to spend millions upon millions of dollars for anything you can’t expect much to be done in a reasonable amount of time. And so it goes. Not much has changed in the City of the Angels.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to our readers. I wish for a time when we can all celebrate the many blessings we enjoy in America.
(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. Zine was a candidate for City Controller last city election. He writes RantZ & RaveZ for CityWatch. You can contact him at [email protected]. Mr. Zine’s views are his own and do not reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.