SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The governor and state lawmakers are now on spring break, and there is still no deal to send money to Californians, which they promised in response to rising gas prices.
It could be at least weeks before Californians see that relief promised almost a month ago by state lawmakers. There are a handful of proposals still under debate.
“For the legislature to say no, we’re going to keep California’s gas prices higher than any other state, and then we’re going to go on vacation, it just goes to show how out of touch people here are,” said Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin.
Kiley said he’s not giving up his push to suspend the state’s gas tax as the governor and legislature take off for spring break.
His gas tax holiday bill two weeks ago was verbally gutted and changed in the Assembly Transportation Committee. Democrats there made it into a proposed, new tax on gas companies to pass excess profits onto consumers.
But those changes were never put in writing, and this week Assembly Democrats voted to erase their attempt to do so from the legislative record.
Kiley’s gas tax holiday bill is still alive as states like New York and Connecticut move to suspend their gas taxes.
“We are going to be continuing to push for that to be enacted as quickly as possible so Californians can get some relief,” Kiley said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris officially put her proposal in writing to give $400 to all Californians who pay income tax in the state.
And while supporters framed it as a way to offset the rising price of gas, the word “gas” is nowhere to be found in Assembly Bill 1616.
Instead, it uses the governor’s current pandemic state of emergency to tap into the California Emergency Relief Fund to send out the money. Doing so, however, will require a 2/3 vote in the legislature.
Other efforts include the proposal from legislative leaders to send payments based on income. Another is the governor’s push to send up to $800 debit cards to California car owners.
Both of those could be considered in state budget negotiations, which won’t be finalized until the end of June. Before going on break, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s prepared to work with the lawmakers on a solution.
“I’m also very resolved to get money back in the pockets of people not just impacted by gas prices, but every one of us, all of us, impacted by the cost of living,” Newsom said.
The governor will be back in office Tuesday. Lawmakers will return April 18th.