Prop 1A Tightens Rules On Gas Tax Use

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, November 2, 2006

Under Prop 1A, the only time it would be okay to siphon away gas pump sales taxes would be if the governor declares a severe state of fiscal hardship and he’d only be able to do it twice in a 10-year period. 

"Now the problem with that is that you may have two disastrous years in a row and the first year you could use the money and the second year you couldn’t."

State Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg is against Prop 1A. She calls it “auto-pilot budgeting” that restricts the governor and the legislature from setting priorities. 

"You don’t want to make things inflexible so that you can’t shift money around."

But Prop 1A supporters say all it does is uphold the will of voters. Back in 2002 voters approved Proposition 42 which was supposed to dedicate gas taxes to transportation improvements. But Mike McKeaver with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments – a transportation planning agency – says the fine print gave state lawmakers too much freedom to borrow those revenues for general fund purposes. 

"What 1A does is takes what was I think inadvertently a broad loophole and makes it a very narrow and defined."

McKeaver says Prop 1A would ensure a stable source of funding to get urgently needed projects off the drawing boards and allow engineers to fix roads, widen freeways and improve public transit. 

"So we would expect the number of projects to be built much sooner than otherwise."

Prop 1A is part of an infrastructure bond package approved by the Legislature earlier this year.