Want to fund our roads? Reduce wasteful spending first

Eric Eisenhammer

I’m a Roseville-based small business owner with projects across California and Nevada – that’s a big territory and it means I spend a lot of time going up and down the highways. The price of gas and the condition of our roads has a big impact on me.

I’m also founder of the Coalition of Energy Users, a nonprofit that advocates for gas and energy consumers.

That’s why I’m supporting Proposition 6, a ballot measure Californians will vote on in November that would repeal the recently-approved gas and car tax increase.

In January, motorists around California saw our taxes go up 12 cents a gallon, and up to 20 cents a gallon on diesel. To top it off, our car taxes were nearly doubled.

Politicians claim they need the tax increase for our roads. Driving as much as I do, I don’t need a study to tell me that California’s roads are in terrible shape. However, our state’s gas taxes have long been among the nation’s highest and our roads are continually ranked among the worst. This begs the question – where do our tax dollars actually go?

Although they claim they can’t find the money to competently maintain our roads, they can find the money to make sure that California has the highest paid governor in America and the highest paid Legislature. Every one of our 120 state legislators receives a six-figure salary.

The Legislature just passed a record $200 billion budget that includes over $500 million in funding to knock down and then rebuild politicians’ Capitol offices.

Sacramento politicians also have enough money for their own private DMV that lets them bypass the long lines the rest of us must endure.

And these long lines we all wait in are despite $56 million in new DMV funding, including “emergency funding.” And yet the Legislature rejected a proposal to audit the DMV and find out where the money has gone.

Even without the gas tax, regular Californians already struggle to get by in a state with one of the highest costs of living in America. If we don’t repeal the gas and car tax increase, consumers will continue to pay an average of $700 per household in new taxes.

Proposition 6 repeals the gas and car tax increase, and it requires any future gas tax increases be put to a vote of the people.

When Jerry Brown was campaigning for Governor, he promised “no new taxes without voter approval,” in television commercials broadcast statewide.

We never got to vote on this gas tax hike. But we should have. Proposition 6 ensures that in the future, the people will decide, not lobbyists and politicians.

Eric Eisenhammer is CEO of Dauntless Communications and Founder of the Coalition of Energy Users.