California Governor Wants Tax Rebate To Combat High Gas Prices

by Taylor Cunningham

With California gas prices breaking national records, Governor Newsom is calling for a tax rebate to help lessen the burden at the pump.

At a Glance

  • California drivers currently have the highest average gas prices in the country.
  • With the U.S. banning Russian oil, the state will likely see the cost rise in the comming weeks
  • To offset the cost, Governor Newsom is proposing a tax rebate.
  • People may see the money as soon as this spring.
  • Republicans also call on Newsom to support efforts to suspend state and federal gas taxes through 2022.

The California Tax Rebate May Total Billions of Dollars and Be Available This Spring

On Tuesday, the statewide gas average reached $5.44. Not only is the price currently the highest in the nation. But it’s also the highest the country has ever seen. And with Biden’s recent ban on Russian oil imports, the cost is expected to rise.

So to help drivers better afford the skyrocketing price of commuting, Newsom is proposing that the state sends out a tax rebate.

During his annual State of the State address, he teased the idea of working with legislative leaders “to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices.” However, he didn’t elaborate on the specifics.

Though following the speech, Newsom’s senior adviser Dee Dee Myers shared that the rebate would equate to billions of tax dollars. And only people with cars would get a check. People living in the country illegally would also qualify for the program.

And the government could send the money as soon as this spring.

With tensions overseas worsening the fuel crisis, many lawmakers and struggling citizens are calling for president Biden to increase drilling in the US. instead of offering stimulus programs. And because the Golden State is one of the most oil-rich states in the nation, they want Newsom to back the plan.

But today, he denounced the idea saying it would take a dangerous toll on the environment.

“Drilling even more oil only leads to even more extreme weather, more extreme drought, more wildfire,” he said. “We need to be fighting polluters, not bolstering them. And in the process of so doing, freeing us once and for all from the grasp of petro-dictators.”

California Republican Leaders Ask Newsom to Suspend Gas Taxes

Lawmakers around the country are also calling for state and federal gas taxes to be suspended through the end of the year to offset the record-high cost of fuel. And California Republicans are asking Newsom to get on board.

“Gas prices are out of control,” Assemblymember Suzette Martinez Valladares said in the Republican “prebuttal” to the State of the State. “Let’s suspend the gas tax. Stop using foreign oil and focus on energy independence policies that don’t place new burdens on working families.”

The governor has shown support for the idea and proposed holding off on a planned gas tax hike that is supposed to hit drivers this summer. However, fellow Democratic leaders are fighting the pause, saying that it wouldn’t offer a noticeable break in fuel prices. But it would make it harder for the state to maintain its infrastructure.