With one exception, 10th California Assembly District candidates dodge questions on gasoline tax moratorium



Given the sensitive nature of high gas prices and the political vulnerabilities posed by national inflation, particularly for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, three candidates for the 10th District California Assembly seat did not respond to questions on the topic. 

On Wednesday, the questions were sent via email to Democratic Assembly candidates Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra, Elk Grove City Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen and Dr. Tecoy Porter, and Republican candidate Eric Rigard. 

With gas now above $6/gallon throughout California, there have been proposals to suspend the current 50-cent gasoline sales tax enacted by Senate Bill 1, contributing to the state's highest in the nation prices. Revenues from the tax are directed toward infrastructure and other transportation projects.

Additionally, a price index component of the law will take effect on July 1, increasing the tax by three cents.

The questions were:

1. If you were an Assemblymember, why would you or would not support a six-month suspension of the 51 cent gasoline tax enacted by Senate Bill 1?


 2. The SB 1 gasoline sales tax has an inflation component and the tax is scheduled to increase by 3 cents on July 1. If you were an Assemblymember, for what reasons would you or would you not support suspending the inflation-triggered increase?

The only candidate responding to the question was Dr. Tecoy Porter. Below are Porter's answers. 

Answer to Question 1 

While taxes tend to distort the prices of commodity goods, I would only support the suspension of such tax if there were provisions within the proposed bill to ensure oil and gas suppliers pass those cost savings to the consumer. When taxes are levied against a business or commodity, that tax is often passed to the consumer through various means taken by that business. However, gas is unique in that it has a relatively inelastic demand because the only substitute is an electric vehicle that is not a cheap alternative – gas retains strong demand even as the price of gas has precipitously risen over the past year. 

Additionally, a new report came out on Wednesday by Consumer Watchdog that shows oil companies are price gouging Californians. The report claims several companies report profits in California that are more than double the same company's profits in other parts of the country. 

Full article is here.   

Answer to Question 2 

As an Assemblymember, I would support a gas tax suspension if we could get guarantees from oil and gas suppliers to pass those cost savings to the consumer. 

If this isn’t viable, I would support implementing a direct payment or rebate to consumers as quickly as possible to ease this burden in the short term while continuing to pursue efforts to facilitate acquiring vehicles powered by alternative forms of renewable energy more accessible across the board. 

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