02/29/2024

California Gov. Jerry Brown Calls Gas Tax Hike Foes ‘Freeloaders’

California’s newly passed transportation package will nearly double drivers’ gas taxes. Don’t like that? Then Gov. Jerry Brown thinks you’re a freeloader.

“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.

Anger has been building at the governor since he signed the tax hike into law in late April. (The levies are scheduled to come into effect in November.) 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.

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