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Coming soon: 12 cents per gallon gas tax to help finance high speed rail

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POSTED April 26, 2014 12:30 a.m.

Now it’s clear.

Sacramento does indeed plan to use tax dollars to subsidize high speed rail’s operating expenses. And it’s going to be on the back of farm workers, commuters, working stiffs, and anyone else that needs to buy gasoline.

The push is on to guarantee that 20 percent of all revenue raised from greenhouse cap and trade taxes will go toward high speed rail. That could come to $9 billion over the next six years. The figure is based on the projection by the state legislative analyst’s office that cap and trade will generate upwards of $45 billion overall between now and 2020.

Starting next year fuel suppliers – read that the oil companies – will start paying the taxes.They will account for 40 percent of that $45 billion or $3 billion a year.

What Sacramento neglects to tell you is how Chevron, Shell, and everyone else that sells you gas is going to come up with $3 billion a year. You are going to be paying for it. The Western States Petroleum Association figures the cap and trade tax will add 12 cents to the cost of each gallon of gas pumped in California. So if you buy 100 gallons of gas a month, you are going to be paying $144 a year to supposedly help reduce greenhouse gas. Of that you will be paying $28.80 directly to high speed rail.

Of course, the 12 cents per gallon may be on the low side. State Senate President Darrel Steinberg – one of the architects of highjacking cap and trade funds for non-greenhouse has reduction projects – has indicated he believes it could pump up the price of gas as much as 40 cents a gallon.

Of course, he wants to see that happen so you will cutback on your driving. That way the goal of the greenhouse tax is being partially met. The less you drive, the less greenhouse gas.

No worries. You can always pay $90 for a high speed rail ticket to travel from Fresno to Bakersfield in 40 minutes.

Do you remember the ironclad assurances made when voters were asked to authorize $10 billion in bonds to finance the high speed rail system construction? They wouldn’t be looking for other tax sources to fund it as investors would be knocking down the doors to get a piece of the action. Also we were assured that there would be no need for taxpayers to subsidize the ongoing maintenance and operation of the system.

If it is such a smart deal, game changer and sure thing why then are investors who spend $2 billion for a high tech company such as Oculus VR that hasn’t even shipped a product yet let alone generate revenue or make a profit aren’t willing to invest in high speed rail?

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the best skill sets that Sacramento politicians possess involve lying, bait and switch, and brokering deals with terrorists for shoulder launched rockets capable of bringing down airplanes.

The cap and trade model to reduce greenhouse gases is another lie that had Pinocchio told it would have made his nose bigger than the General Sherman giant sequoia.

The entire idea was to require businesses that generated more than  25,000 carbon metric tons each year to “purchase” permits from the state for that privilege. Of course, “purchase” is another name for “tax” in the lexicon of Sacramento politicians.

 As of early this year, the permits have generated $1.5 billion. So what did the state do with the $1.5 billion? Did they adhere to state law and spend it on programs that reduce greenhouse gases? Only honest politicians would do that. No, they “borrowed” almost every last dime for state general fund expenses.

They say they are going to pay it back. That’s also what they said about $1 billion they borrowed from the Proposition 13 water bond in 2000. Freely translated, when the word “borrow” is used to describe any action that Sacramento is involved with it actually means “kiss the money good-bye sucker.”

One has to wonder why we as California voters collectively are still gullible enough to vote for bonds and other measures involving money when half the time Sacramento changes the rules and discards promises made to get our votes once they’ve got the money.

Cap and trade is just another taxing scheme that will do little if anything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps that explains why a number of California businesses are suing the state Air Resources Board for illegally imposing a tax  under the guise of a regulatory fee.

As for the high speed rail, it is indeed a green project given the state is going to be taxing you indirectly at the pump to shower it with $1.5 billion worth of greenbacks a year.

 

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

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