California governor, lawmakers close to reaching agreement on gas tax cut

Sacramento — Most California taxpayers will receive hundreds of dollars in cash to help offset the high price of fuel and other goods under an initial budget settlement being discussed by legislative leaders and Governor Gavin Newsom.

The plan would return a portion of California’s record budget surplus of $97 billion to taxpayers, but the money would only go to people with incomes below a certain level.

Newsom and legislative leaders are still negotiating the state budget on Friday, and talks are set to extend into the weekend. While the two sides have agreed on a framework for rebates, the total numbers could change as other parts of the budget are completed. But in general, the less money people earn in a year, the more money they will get from the state.

The current proposal would return about $9.5 billion to taxpayers. Singles earning less than $75,000 per year and married couples earning less than $150,000 per year will receive $350 per taxpayer, plus an additional $350 per dependent. This means that a married couple who earns $100,000 a year with one child will receive $1,050.

Singles earning less than $125,000 per year and couples earning less than $250,000 per year will receive $250 each plus dependents. Singles earning less than $250,000 per year and couples earning less than $500,000 per year will receive $200 each plus dependents.

The motion was endorsed by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Democrat from Los Angeles. Santiago announced the plan in a news release late Friday afternoon, calling it an agreement between Newsom and the legislature. But a representative from Santiago’s office later clarified that the deal had not yet been finalized.

“With prices going up on everything from gas to baby formula, this rebate will help the vast majority of California taxpayers, including undocumented Californians, with hundreds of dollars in direct cash assistance, providing critical relief at times,” Santiago said. difficult”.

The statewide average price of regular unleaded gasoline in California hit an all-time high of $6.44 last week. The average price was 6.35 cents a gallon on Friday compared to the national average of $4.93.

Republicans, who do not control enough seats in the state legislature to pass anything, have called on Newsom and Democrats to temporarily suspend the state’s gas tax – which at 51.1 cents a gallon is the second-highest tax in the country. The tax is set to increase to 53.9 cents a gallon next week, an automatic adjustment that is part of state law meant to keep pace with inflation.

Newsom and Democratic leaders refused to suspend the gas tax, arguing that it would not guarantee a significant price reduction for drivers. They also said it would cost construction jobs as you pay taxes for highway maintenance across the state.

Instead, they pledged months ago to use the state’s budget surplus to send money directly to taxpayers. But so far, nothing has happened because Newsom and legislative leaders have been unable to agree on how to do it. Newsom proposed sending the money to registered car owners, while lawmakers wanted the money to be sent to tax brokers.

The proposal announced Friday is a compromise. The money will go to taxpayers rather than car owners, but the checks will be larger than legislative leaders initially suggested.

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