Fong leads opposition against tax hike

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Fong leads opposition against  tax hikeAssemblyman Vince Fong, Kern County’s newly elected voice in the state’s lower legislature, is leading opposition against Gov. Jerry Brown’s unveiling Wednesday of a $5 billion tax proposal to fix the state’s crumbling infrastructure.

“Californians already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the nation,” Fong said in a statement immediately following the governor’s announcement.

“The transportation proposal announced by the Capital Democrats is a costly and burdensome plan that forces ordinary Californians to bail out Sacramento for years of neglect of our roads. The proposal would include the largest gas-tax increase in state history, which will continue to increase over time, and a massive increase to the diesel tax and vehicle license fee.”

In his few short months in office, Fong has been focused on building consensus for taking existing state resources, rather than levying new taxes, to solve the crisis.

As vice chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Fong announced AB 496, a comprehensive plan to spend $7.8 billion on roadways. The bill would dedicate all vehicle sales and insurance taxes to transportation projects, which are currently being diverted into the general fund.

He cited recent collapses and erosions in California infrastructure as “a wake-up call regarding the dire state of our transportation infrastructure.”

Tom Scott, California executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business, is among those in firm opposition of the governor’s plan.

“While we can all agree there is a dire need to invest in our roads and infrastructure, Californians already pay billions in taxes every year to fund these repairs. Sacramento already has the money to fix our roads,” said Scott.

“We are fearful this transportation package will be jammed through behind closed doors, similar to how the $15 minimum-wage hike was passed almost exactly a year ago.”

“Our state has become increasingly unaffordable for ordinary Californians,” said Fong. He urged state leaders to simply ensure that billions already paid by state drivers are applied to their intended purpose.

“We strongly urge the legislature to reject this historic tax hike in favor of our responsible plan that funds our roads without raising taxes and fees.”

Story First Published: 2017-03-31