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California Republicans Press Newsom To Suspend Gas Tax Increase

FILE - California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. Newsom has signed a bill to ban school boards from rejecting textbooks based on their teachings about the contributions of people from different racial backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities. On Monday, Sept. 25, Newsom said the measure is “long overdue.” (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A group of House Republicans from California are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) to suspend the state’s annual gas tax increase as residents grapple with the nation’s highest gas prices in the country.

In a letter sent to Newsom on Thursday, all 11 House Republicans from California urged Newsom to suspend a pair of gas tax increases that are expected to hit the Golden State later this year: the annual gas tax increase, which is expected to see a slight increase the beginning of July, as well as another 47-cent increase stemming from recent Low Carbon Fuel Standard reforms.

“Gov. Newsom has failed to provide relief at the pump for hard-working Californians struggling with rising costs,” Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), who spearheaded the letter, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “My constituents are already paying the highest gas prices in the country, and the fact that our prices are about to go up even more because of the state’s policies is unacceptable. I am once again urging the governor to suspend the gas tax to lower prices for Central Valley families.”

Lawmakers expressed concern with the annual gas tax increase, which they argued would increase the existing gas tax by 60 cents. However, a spokesperson for Newsom pushed back on that characterization, pointing to the announcement from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration that excise tax rates would increase from 57.9 cents to 59.6 cents.

“This letter is filled with inaccuracies, like claiming the gas tax will increase prices by 60 cents on July 1, which is completely wrong. These members should take a better look at what they’re signing instead of just blindly doing what Big Oil interests want,” spokesman Alex Stack told the Washington Examiner. “Gas prices in California have been on the decline for five weeks straight.”

The letter comes as California boasts an average of $5.15 per gallon for regular gas as of Thursday, making it the highest in the country, according to AAA. The second-highest is Hawaii with an average of $4.87, nearly 30 cents less expensive.

California implements an annual gas tax increase over the summer. However, this year, it will be paired with a second expected gas tax increase in September thanks to the low carbon fuel standard reforms by the California Air Resources Board, which the board said could increase prices by 47 cents a gallon in 2025, up to 52 cents in 2026.

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