Proposition 6 gains wide support as Californians seeks a gas tax repeal.
Prop 6 is a proposition making headway in the 2018 midterm elections. The proposition, if passed, will effectively remove the gas tax legislation that was signed into action by Gov. Jerry Brown of California on April 12, 2017.
On Nov. 1st, the gas tax increased gas prices by 12 cents to the gallon. This has come as a shock to many Californians who are already seeing increased prices for other everyday items such as food, gas (home utility) and electricity. However, those hit the hardest by the gas tax have been commuters.
California is abundant with commuters, including those that travel a far distance to attend colleges and universities.
Students at California State University (CSU) report being directly affected by the gas tax and report increased financial instability as a result of increasing gas prices. However, although the gas tax has been somewhat burdensome to commuters, commuters have also complained about the roads and infrastructures they drive on.
The gas tax purpose is to fix the problems commuters face daily. The gas tax was originally implemented in hopes of decreasing road congestion, fix damaged bridges and roadways and minimizing construction zones and durations.
Unfortunately, Californians, including California State University, San Bernardino students feel discouraged by the lack of immediate change that has taken place this past year.
Students are frustrated by the ever-growing congestion on Interstates and freeways, and can’t imagine the gas tax providing them any timely relief.
Steven deWalden, a CSUSB student that regularly commutes to campus, believes the gas tax isn’t being used in the best ways possible.
“They’re not using the previous taxes appropriately… If they were, they’d be able to finish previous projects,” deWalden said. He added that he would “like to know exactly where the money is going.”
Regardless of the backlash by commuters, California politicians have been actively campaigning against the passing of prop. 6.
They warn that the repeal of the gas tax will put California in a dangerous position, costing the state an estimated $5 billion in tax revenue. Critics of prop 6 warn that crumbling infrastructure could seriously jeopardize commuter safety, potentially putting lives at risk.
However, many Californians realize that the gas tax unfairly and disproportionately affects the already struggling middle and lower classes. A large number of commuters travel to and from school and work because the cost of living in those areas is too costly.
Yet, people in the upper class and people who have a more disposable income to spend on gas, do not commute as much, or they have the resources to use more Eco-friendly options like electric or hybrid cars.
Unfortunately, electric and hybrid cars are still financially out of reach for the struggling middle class and poor, leaving them with no other option than to pay the gas tax.
It should also be noted that people with electric cars are not contributing to the infrastructure projects enacted by the gas tax because they do not require gas, despite being contributors of crumbling infrastructure, worn down roads, and heavy congestion.
deWalden said he feels the tax “definitely goes against the lower income communities.” Funds are disproportionately disbursed and “most upper-class communities’ roads are better maintained” than lower-class communities’ roads.