Gas tax repeal makes the ballot – now the real work begins!

2 May

I  got a note yesterday from the gas tax repeal campaign staff.

“Yesterday was outstanding as we turned in nearly 1 million signatures to force the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative on the November 2018 ballot! “

Of course, Governor Brown is not pleased – have you ever noticed, how Trump-like he gets at times with the potty mouth? Last year, annoyed by not one but two attempts at repeal, The Moonbeam made this comment.

“The freeloaders—I’ve had enough of them,” Brown announced in Orange County earlier this month. “Roads require money to fix.” Without an increase in the gas tax, he argued, Californians might have to drive on gravel.”

Oh my god – freeloader? Would he say that to my face?  I know the truth.

From, “Brown’s state already has the seventh highest gas taxes in the nation, and that money pays for much more than road repair. About $100 million of gas tax revenue—2 percent of the total—is diverted straight into the general fund every year, and another 7 percent goes to public transit.”

If you don’t believe in Agenda 21, ask yourself – why should people who drive cars pay for public transit? Millions of dollars a year goes into public transit in California – how about the BART train that just broke on it’s first day? – and public transit is still unusable for most Californians? Because most of the money goes into bureaucrats’ back pockets.

Read that – when Chronicle Staff asked what kind of problems the trains were having, BART staff said, “You have our response…” Don’t you love that Caleeforneeya Sunshine!

Here’s what that woman gets paid to treat the public like garbage:

And here’s what you see when you use public transportation in California (this is from a UK new service but I found other related stories in US press sources):

In Chico, like everywhere else, gas tax funds are diverted to pay salaries and pension premiums for people who never even get their hands dirty. Using the process of “cost allocation,” the gas tax is spread out and divvied up, used to pay a staffer just for putting a signature on a report – meet Mark Orme, City Mangler – that’s how he gets paid. He does nothing toward fixing your roads, he spends his days in meetings wearing fresh white shirts. But every time he signs a staff report, he gets money out of the gas tax and other road funds.  As our gas tax is “allocated” into his pension, we drive on gravel. 

This gas tax allows for much of the money to be given to cities to spend at their discretion. Right now, instead of fixing roads for us to drive our heavily taxed cars on, the city is going on a bike land bender. These projects – like the “experimental” bike lanes recently painted on Downtown streets – cost a fraction of the grant, the rest goes into Gustafson and Ottoboni and Orme’s back pockets. 

So, we will have to get busy working to get the initiative passed. Of course the repeal folks need and are asking for money – I don’t have much to give, I don’t think you do either. What can you do? Tell friends, and write letters to the editors of the local papers. 

 We need to keep this repeal effort in people’s minds all the way to November. Start writing letters about how this gas tax has and will effect you. I’ve noticed the prices at the grocery store have already gone up – list items you buy regularly and how much they’ve gone up. Talk about what you’ve had to cut back on to get to work – it’s getting hard to find things to cut back on, isn’t it? Talk about your most recent car registration – how much did they gouge you for? Talk about the streets around your house and the roads you take to work – have they gotten better, or worse, as state and local taxes have gotten higher and higher?

Write now, because about two months ahead of the election, David Little will announce he is limiting us to one political letter, and I mean, that’s it. Save your piece d’resistance for after he makes that announcement. Write regularly, try to sink one every month or so. Talk about a different aspect of how this tax has affected you personally. Talk to your friends, get some more ammo from them.

And come here to chatter it up, then put a link to the blog in your letters – that’s

And, if you can afford to chuck a few bucks at the repeal folks, I’m sure they will put it to better use than the gas tax. Here’s that link with my regards:


Can you to help with a contribution for the campaign TODAY to pass the Gas Tax Repeal? Here’s the secure link


24 Responses to “Gas tax repeal makes the ballot – now the real work begins!”

  1. peter May 2, 2018 at 8:01 am #

    I think it’s fair to acknowledge that California has the second most public road miles to maintain in the nation, and therefore would require more funds to maintain.

    • Juanita Sumner May 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

      You must acknowledge that much of the money is diverted to other projects instead of being spent on the roads. Bike path experiments do not fix potholes.

      Furthermore, the roads didn’t get in the condition they are in overnight. The funds have been diverted to pay salaries, benefits and pensions for non-road workers for years. Our former finance director Jennifer Hennessy blithely announced in a meeting back in 2011 that all the gas tax receipts Chico had received for that year had been spent on salaries, there was no money left for asphalt or other road supplies.

      • bob May 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm #

        Furthermore, the roads didn’t get in the condition they are in overnight.

        In all my life I can never remember a time when the roads were so bad and the taxes so high!

    • bob May 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

      I think it’s fair to acknowledge that California has the second most public road miles to maintain in the nation, and therefore would require more funds to maintain.

      California spends $84,005 per mile to maintain its highways, compared to a national average of $28,020—while ranking 46th in the quality of its urban highways.

      Are you outraged yet?

      • Juanita Sumner May 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

        Thanks Bob, there’s my point.

        The reason why roads are so awful in California is that public workers here are too entitled.

      • peter May 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

        got a link to back up those statements

      • Juanita Sumner May 3, 2018 at 5:48 am #

        to which statements are you referring? I provided links in the post, and those links lead to other links. Phatts also provided a link.

        You know, I promise anonymity on this site, but I’m wondering why a guy with your credentials hides behind his keyboard Pete. You have a lot bigger stake in all this than you are admitting.

      • bob May 3, 2018 at 8:08 am #

        Yes, if you’d be paying attention you’d see the link I posted in the prior block entry’s comment section.

        And here’s another link. The cap and trade fee increases our gas by 11 cents a gallon and diesel by 13. And that’s a tax no other state has. Yet people like you never include this tax when comparing CA gas taxes with other states.

      • Juanita Sumner May 3, 2018 at 8:20 am #

        Thanks Bob. I don’t mean to be rude, but I wish we could have a straight face-to-face with the public workers, instead they waste our time disputing the facts.

  2. phattcat May 2, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

    State officials announced Thursday that $2.4 billion from increases in the gas tax and vehicle fees will be spent on dozens of transit projects, including work to prepare Southern California for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

    • Juanita Sumner May 2, 2018 at 2:11 pm #

      Thanks for that example – our roads are third world, but LA gets more money cause they get the Olympics. Great.

    • bob May 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm #

      Summer Olympics. That would be amusing if it weren’t so infuriating.

  3. bob May 2, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    “Brown’s state already has the seventh highest gas taxes in the nation, and that money pays for much more than road repair.

    I think that was before the tax increases last year. I have read elsewhere that after the tax increases CA is second. However, it does not include the cap and trade fee on gas producers which is passed on to consumers and it does not include the sales taxes on gas. When those are factored in CA has the highest taxes on gas in the country.

    And then there is the huge tax increase on diesel but that’s another issue.

  4. bob May 4, 2018 at 11:29 am #

    Anyone see this? Maybe the media is finally catching on to some of the tricks of the politicians and bureaucrats. This is something I’ve been harping about for a long time, how they user OUR money to put out propaganda to raise our taxes even more. There’s never enough tax money to fix the roads but plenty of tax money to put out propaganda for higher taxes. And YOU pay for it, sucker!

    Face it, these politicians and bureaucrats are experts at ripping YOU off every which way from Sunday!

    Editorial: Oroville residents paying for sales pitch .. to themselves

  5. peter May 7, 2018 at 10:13 am #

    Juanita, the statements I was referring to were those by Bob regarding the cost per mile in CA vs the rest of the nation. I did some research and, yes, the cost to build and maintain roads in CA is greater compared to the rest of the nation, but there are multiple factors at play here. Most notably the cost of labor, land, the variability of topography/landscapes, and strict environmental rules up the price considerably. 50 miles along the coastline is different than 50 miles across the Nevadan desert or Iowan cornfields. Yes, there is also administrative bloat, and there is work to be done there, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Also, not hiding behind a keyboard. Not sure how you gathered that. I’m not sure who you think I am, but I think you might be mistaken.


    • Juanita Sumner May 8, 2018 at 5:08 am #

      Peter, I’ve known private sector construction workers – my dad drove a Peterbilt for Teichert – and labor is essentially 2 percent of the cost.

      I think you are over simplifying laying a road through the desert or a cornfield. Desert roads move with every rain storm. Cornfields belong to farmers and have to be eminent domained, then there’s drainage.

      Environmental rules are made by those who have the most to benefit from enforcing them – public workers. None of these rules have ever been on a ballot.

      And you’re telling us we have to pay “administrative bloat” to get the job done – SHAKEDOWN MONEY.

      There’s no baby left in that bath tub Pete, I say “chuck it!”

      You gave me your full name, and I’m letting you slide by on your first name because I’ve promised anonymity to those who feel they need it, You have a lot bigger stake in this than you are letting on. I’ve seen your website. Be real. We need to talk to people like you about how the rest of us feel about footing the bill for your lifestyle. No time to hide Peter.

      Also, are you related to Harville and Zella?

      • peter May 8, 2018 at 8:46 am #

        Juanita, we will agree to disagree, but thank you for the information and knowledge. I always want to be learning and be more informed. I enjoy hearing your takes on things, and I appreciate your tenacity in these local matters.

        However, I must comment that I regret my engagement here due to your response insinuating something of a “bigger stake.” I honestly believe you might have me confused with someone else. I’ve looked for your email address to continue this discussion offline, but could not locate. Please email me at your convenience so that we can clear this up. I’m not sure what you mean in regards to “my lifestyle” I’ve got nothing to hide. Living paycheck to paycheck here…

        I have no idea who Harville and Zella are.

      • Juanita Sumner May 8, 2018 at 9:51 am #

        If you are actually the person under whose name you are signing in on your comments, then you are a public employee and a road consultant. That means you have a direct stake in the funding of infrastructure repairs.

        If you are not that person I find it a little weird that you’d be signing in under that specific name.

        I don’t think I have to be respectful to lurkers who try to Swerve the conversation without admitting what they have to gain.

        The person under whose name you signed in has relatives in Glenn County who happened to be friends of my family.

    • bob May 8, 2018 at 7:38 pm #

      “…yes, the cost to build and maintain roads in CA is greater compared to the rest of the nation, but there are multiple factors at play here.”

      Yes, far greater and yes there’s a lot at play here, like the unions that demand higher wages and of course the bureaucracy. And most of California has a far milder climate than Iowa which should make maintaining the roads less expensive.

      “Yes, there is also administrative bloat, and there is work to be done there, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

      All we are asking is to throw out these tax increases with the bathwater.

      Remember, the gas tax went up 12 cents a gallon and goes up another 7 cents next year. And diesel went up over 20 cents a gallon and these taxes automatically go up every year as they are indexed to inflation. And remember we already had among the highest gas prices in the country BEFORE these tax increases. And remember, these tax increases raise the price of EVERYTHING that uses gas or diesel in any way (mainly transport of course). And remember, these tax increases are REGRESSIVE and hurt the poor the most.

      Despite everything that’s been said here you are for these tax increases. Why don’t you be honest and admit that? I am sure that you are a government employee or some other special interest that stands to benefit from taxing poor people (and everyone else) even more.

      • peter May 8, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

        Bob, thanks for the information here. I’m always willing to hear more on a topic as there is typically a lot below the surface.

        To be clear, I never said I was for the tax increase – just that California is a complex place and that there are reasons why the cost is greater here than elsewhere. You have enlightened me as to where some of those tax revenues end up. Thanks for that.

  6. peter May 8, 2018 at 7:39 pm #

    Ok, thanks, point taken. You aren’t really fully accurate with your assessment of me, but that’s ok. I have worked with Caltrans as a non-pensioned contractor, but I don’t any longer. Yes, I am a public employee – as of about 6 weeks ago. In a position completely unrelated to Caltrans and the City of Chico. I’ve got nothing to hide in that regard.

    Again, I really do appreciate your tenacity and research on lots of topics, as it’s great to have a watchdog for us taxpayers. Your efforts in holding gov. accountable and attending meetings is a rarity and underappreciated. I wholly agree there needs to be some pension reform, and you’ve done a good job of belaboring that stance. Keep up the good work.

    I was simply trying to make the point that California (beyond it’s admin bloat) is a very unique case vs. the rest of the nation due to its complexity of topography, environmental regulations, existing infrastructure, growth, etc… No it doesn’t account for everything, but you shouldn’t dismiss it.


    • Juanita Sumner May 9, 2018 at 5:30 am #

      thanks for the back handed compliment, I’m “belaboring” the point?

      You keep “belaboring” the same point about California being so unique – Peter, every state in this union has unique topography, regulations, existing infrastructure, etc. How about Florida? Ever been in a sink hole? Did you know in Kansas farmers had to dig drains out of their cornfields, miles of pipe, to keep them from flooding in Spring? In Alaska they laid down trees just so the road equipment wouldn’t sink into the swamps. Every where you go there will be issues to deal with. Public workers, hired to do a job, keep saying they need more money, more money, more money, to do their jobs. It never ends.

      My great grandfather built roads around Downieville CA with a pick-ax, just so he could get his ranch produce to town. My kids still ride their mountain bikes on those roads. Drive up to Butcher’s Ranch sometime – my great grandpa and other laborers built that road. Drive to Poker Flat – I hope you don’t get a nose bleed. All hand done.

      Want to rethink your answer on Harville and Zella? Ask your Dad, go on.

      • peter May 9, 2018 at 7:55 am #

        To be fair re: “belaboring” – you’ve been talking pension reform since I started reading years ago. I “belabored” my point about two days here in a couple comments above. I think it’s reasonable to say that most of your blogs here circle back to pension reform. And you’ve educated me on the backstory on that through your posts over the years – thank you for that. My apologies if my intended praise was understood as backhanded. I truly enjoy reading your blog and your take on our local and regional issues.

        The issues re: road maintenance are complex. I am wrong for oversimplifying the matter. I agree that the system needs reform – i never said it didn’t.

        Please give the suggestions about some ulterior motive a rest. I’m just a commenter here (and probably for the last time), and likely an uninformed one in your eyes. I hope, if anything, we’ve encouraged readers to go look up some articles and stats re: transportation costs and maintenance. I know I will. There is work to be done.

        And, my family has no roots in Glenn County and I have no clue who Harville and Zella are, sorry. It is a common name and I know a few other folks that share my name regionally – I’m not related to any of them.

        Thank you for the exchange and take care.

      • Juanita Sumner May 9, 2018 at 9:35 am #

        Yes, and it took me all these years to get them to admit there is a problem. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the words “pension deficit”, “pension liability” – they try to talk about this stuff at meetings, brush it under he rug asap, and it takes a lot of yak from people like me to get the rest of the public to pay attention.

        Hey, you sick of talking about the pension deficit? Pension reform? Well a subject that Brian Nakamura brought up way back in 2012 that we haven’t had time to talk about while wrestling over the pensions, is the BENEFITS DEFICIT. Nakamura said it’s almost equal to the pensions deficit, for the same reason – public workers don’t pay anything toward their own benefits. Want to talk about that? That will take a few years more wrestling, given the amount of time it has taken me to get the pensions conversation out in the open.

        sorry you didn’t know Harville and Zella. Since you did intern work in Glenn County, I assumed you were from Glenn County, cause who else would want to work in Glenn County?

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