MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 350 Compromise — September 10, 2015

The pace is nonstop here in Sacramento. But, we’re having an impact. The effort to oppose the proposed gas tax is addressed in Fox & Hound in the first piece below. It is followed by our news release on the topic.

The second piece is from last evening’s press conference, on ABC Channel 10, where Gov. Brown had a meltdown on his modification to the climate change effort of SB 350. The policy of eliminating gasoline from our lives does did not resonate with the voters. See it at:

http://www.abc10.com/story/news/local/california/2015/09/09/ca-legislative-leaders-brown-announce-compromise-energy-reduction-bill/71977136/

http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com

No Gas Tax Increase for Now

Joel Fox

By Joel Fox

Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

There will be no immediate deal on tax increases for road infrastructure because Republicans have held fast arguing that while revenues are up road needs have been ignored. The facts appear to back them up.

While 2015-16 state revenues are 37% higher than 2010-11, the last budget before Gov. Jerry Brown took office, state spending on transportation got little increases.

Had transportation received the same share of the 2015-16 money as it received in 2010-11, spending on transportation in 2015-16 would be $1.3 billion greater than the amount allocated in the 2015-16 budget.

Where did the increased revenue go?

According to Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), “With gas tax revenue up, the state has actually decreased its funding allocation to our roads by diverting those funds to other line-items.” Moorloch highlighted in a release that in the six years following the Great Recession, gas tax revenue grew by 1.75 billion and road spending remained stagnant.

As I wrote in mid-July, the campaign for a gas tax increase resembled the effort to pass Prop 30—deny funding to programs until it hurts so that voters are convinced to raise taxes.

It worked with the schools and Prop 30, according to a Bloomberg article I cited in the July post. It did not work for the roads—-yet.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Contact: Amanda Smith (949-223-5037)
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New Gas Tax Analysis

In 6 Years Following Great Recession, Gas Tax Revenue Grew by $1.75 Billion; Road Spending Remained Stagnant

“Governor Brown’s transportation tax proposal is really a tax to replace road funds that were diverted to cover other budget priorities.”
— State Senator John Moorlach

(Sacramento, CA) – A fresh review of post-recession California budget data revealed that California’s road spending remained stagnant at roughly $10 billion per year over the past six years, while revenues from gas and diesel taxes and fees grew from $6.9 billion to $8.7 billion.

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With gas tax revenue up, the state has actually decreased its funding allocation to our roads by diverting those funds to other line-items,” said State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) “Now we’re being told we have a road emergency, and we need to raise taxes.”

“The data is becoming clearer; Governor Brown’s transportation tax proposal is really a tax to replace road funds that were diverted to cover other budget priorities,” continued Moorlach. “California’s economy is already the highest taxed in the nation. You can only pluck so many feathers off this bird before it can’t fly anymore. Instead of raising taxes, maybe we ought to look at fixing the spending side.”

Last week, Governor Brown announced a set of taxes to raise $3.6 billion for his transportation plan, including a $65 increase in the car tax, $.06 increase in the gas tax, $.11 increase in diesel tax, $500 million from cap and trade funds and $100 million from Caltrans budget shifts.

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California Legislative Leaders, Governor Announce Compromise

On Energy Usage Reduction Bill

Emily Pritchard

The provision to cut gas usage by 50 percent by 2030 has been cut from SB350 announced Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins at a news conference Wednesday evening at the Capitol.

According to De Leon, SB350 aims to boost statewide renewable electricity use to 50 percent, make buildings twice as energy efficient and have drivers use half as much gasoline. With the latest announcement, the last part – a key provision – of the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 has been removed.

"We raced for the Triple Crown but, with the clock ticking, the stakes are way too high to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the great," De Leon said. "And so we have together agreed to amend SB 350 to remove the petroleum section and move forward with the other two sections — which, by any standard, are in and of themselves landmark achievements."

The bill has faced opposition from Assembly Democrats, who were worried that mandating oil reduction hurts low-wage workers. Others said there needs to be a cheaper alternative in order for a petroleum cutback to be effective.

“Everyone has to get to work in the morning, everybody has got to go to school — and whether you like it or not, it’s in an automobile," Sen. Ted Gaines, R – El Dorado, said. "Until there’s new technology that transforms that industry, we’re still very reliant on cars and putting gas in those cars to get from point A to B."

Some said there appeared to be confusion on what was being asked of Californians.

“It’s very difficult to explain to the constituents of this state that on one hand you want to raise their gas tax so you can repair the roads, and on the other hand you want to reduce the amount of gas you sell by 50 percent," Sen. John Moorlach, R – Costa Mesa said. "It just didn’t connect."

Provisions on renewable electricity and energy efficiency remain in SB350.

Brown, De Leon and Atkins said lawmakers dropped the provision under pressure from oil industry lobbyists. Brown said during the new conference no company wants to see its business cut by 50 percent.

De Leon said, "Big Oil might be on the right side of their shareholder reports, but we’re on the right side of history."

Atkins said on Wednesday she wouldn’t predict a vote, but added the bill now has broad support in the Assembly.

The session ends on Friday — after the announcement, there were two days to win approval of SB350.

The proposal was to enact Brown’s call to curb greenhouse gas emissions by setting what the administration calls the most aggressive benchmark in North America.

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF JOHN M. W. MOORLACH
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Contact: Amanda Smith (949-223-5037)
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BREAKING

Senator Moorlach Statement on Governor Jerry Brown’s SB 350 Press Conference

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Senator Moorlach released the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s press conference on Senate Bill 350:

"Even though SB 350 appears to be failing in the Legislature, the Governor indicated that he will push the California Air Resources Board to enact the mandates anyway and continue his drive to fundamentally change our economy through high regulations and astronomical costs to our citizens. The Governor also made it clear he refuses to allow the people to review and approve such epic changes. That’s not accountable government, and its not good policy."

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This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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