SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — What began as a bill to temporarily suspend California’s gas tax turned into new legislation that would impose a new state tax on gas suppliers to provide rebates back to their customers.
California lawmakers in the Assembly Transportation Committee rejected Republican Assembly Member Kevin Kiley’s gas tax holiday bill as originally written 3-9 on a party-line vote Monday.
During the hearing, Democratic Assembly Member Alex Lee proposed gutting and amending the bill to include a vehicle fuel windfall profits tax on gas suppliers when the price of a gallon of gas is abnormally high compared to the price of a barrel of crude oil. Money collected through the tax would go into a rebate fund that would be sent back to California gas consumers.
“Fossil fuel corporations are reaping record profits and have continued to take advantage of global events to jack up prices,” Lee said.
The Democrat-dominated committee approved Lee’s changes and voted to move the bill forward with an 8-4 vote. The bill had not been updated with the new details in the state’s legislation database as of Tuesday morning.
Republicans accused the committee of hijacking Kiley’s legislation.
In a statement, Kiley said, “I introduced this bill to do something very simple: provide tax relief for California families who are struggling to afford the rising cost of gas. Despite bipartisan support for suspending the gas tax in many other states, the Supermajority killed an effort to save families 50 cents per gallon at the pump and instead replaced it with yet another tax increase. It’s hard to imagine a Legislature that is more out of touch with the needs of its constituents.”
The transportation committee’s hearing on the bill was scheduled after Republican lawmakers attempted to force votes on the gas tax holiday twice on the Assembly floor.