By now, it’s clear that the backers of Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas tax have a problem. It’s just not the problem they think it is.
Sure, the latest polls show that a majority of California voters plan to support Proposition 6, the Republican ploy of a ballot measure that would repeal the increase of 12 cents per gallon on gasoline and 20 cents per gallon on diesel. If left intact, that tax increase, along with a new fee on vehicle registration, would raise more than $5 billion a year for long-delayed repairs of crumbling roads and bridges, and to improve mass transit.
That’s a revenue stream that construction companies and unions don’t want to give up. California’s broader business community doesn’t want to forfeit it either because safer roads and bridges make it easier for people to drive to work and for goods to be easily trucked around the state.