Posted by Curt on 31 December, 2015 at 10:34 am. Be the first to comment!



California has given us three new truths about government.

One, the higher that taxes rise, the worse state services become.

Two, the worse a natural disaster hits, the more the state contributes to its havoc.

And three, the more existential the problem, the more the state ignores it.

California somehow has managed to have the fourth-highest gas taxes in the nation, yet its roads are rated 44th among the 50 states. Nearly 70 percent of California roads are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition by the state senate. In response, the state legislature naturally wants to raise gas taxes, with one proposal calling for an increase of 12 cents per gallon, which would give California the highest gas taxes in the nation.

Because oil prices have crashed, state bureaucrats apparently believe that the public won’t notice the tax increase in their fill-up costs – even though special California fuel mandates already help make gas prices 25 percent higher than the national average.

Consider California’s upside-down logic.

The state wanted to discourage driving and promote hybrid vehicles by upping taxes on carbon fuels. It worked, though it cost the public dearly. People drove less and bought more fuel-efficient cars. But now, because less gas is burned, fewer taxes are collected. So the state wants to reward motorists for their green sacrifices by raising their taxes even higher to make up for missing revenue. If state motorists drive even less and cram into two-seat commuter cars, will California further reward them with even higher gas taxes?

Notice what the state does not consider.

Are highway bureaucracies such as the California Department of Transportation run efficiently? The nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office recently reported waste and inefficiency in Caltrans, citing a staggering 3,500 unnecessary Caltrans employees, and declaring the agency more inefficient than other states’ transportation bureaucracies.

If California motorists are driving far fewer miles, shouldn’t roads wear out more slowly – and additional taxes not need to be raised for repairs? Could state revenues that have been diverted to the high-speed rail boondoggle instead be used for road repairs?

And how can a state with the highest number of poor people in the nation – 23 percent of Californians are below the accepted poverty line, according to the Census Bureau – ensure that its gas prices will be the highest in the nation?

California may be transitioning out of a devastating four-year drought. But the state at least should have taken advantage of that record stretch of dry, sunny weather to rush construction of new dams, reservoirs, and canals to trap more rain and snowmelt. It never did. Despite talk of raising the height of Shasta Dam, as planned decades ago, or creating new reservoirs and San Francisco delta tunnels, nothing happened. Such projects are mired in endless environmental and cultural lawsuits.

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