State gas tax rises 3.5 cents Monday, giving California the highest in the nation

Nobody likes high gas prices — or taxes — and Californians are about to get hit with both when a 3.5-cent increase in the state gasoline tax kicks in Monday.
That will give the Golden State the highest gas tax in the nation — nearly 72 cents a gallon.
The increase was approved by the five-member state Board of Equalization in February under a complicated “gas tax swap” that eliminated most sales taxes on fuel purchases in favor of a higher excise tax.
Sales tax revenues fund local government programs, while the state excise tax on gas funds highway and mass transit projects throughout the state.
“A tax increase without the usual 67 percent supermajority vote? The anti-tax crowd must be having kittens,” said motorist Diane Berger, of San Jose, who owns an electric Chevy Volt and says she seldom even looks at prices at the pump.
The Legislature gave the tax board the authority to raise the excise tax by a simple majority vote. If a tax had gone before voters as a special tax, it would have needed a two-thirds majority.

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