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Schwarzenegger’s Folly: Rumored Budget Would Slash Transit Funds and Gas Tax

9:38 AM PST on January 4, 2010

1_4_10_gov.jpgPhoto: He's smiling.  He must be thinking of cars...or private jets.

In October of last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a rather innocuous piece of legislation with a hidden message telling the bill's author, by way of reading the first letter of each line, to f-u-c-k y-o-u.  Childish? Yes.  However, millions of transit riders must have been wondering what the big deal was. The alleged environmentalist has been giving them the same message for years in much more explicit terms.

However, with a ruling by the California Supreme Court ruling that the Governor's consistent raiding of transit operating funds was illegal, many assumed we were safe from the former Terminator's disgust with public transit.  The Times reports that anyone who doubts the Governor's ability to make transit riders lives miserable was wrong:

The California Supreme Court seemingly put an end to the transit raidsonly months ago, ordering the state to repay the more than $3 billionin gasoline sales taxes that it had taken since 2007.

Instead, the Schwarzenegger administration has crafted a plan to again take the funds -- just in a different way.

The governor would eliminate the sales tax on gas and, at the sametime, impose a new per-gallon excise tax. Drivers would pay about 5cents less per gallon at the pump. The excise tax would not be subjectto voter-approved spending requirements for public transit.

Well, you have to admire his chutzpah if nothing else.  He continues to have the guts to masquerade as an environmental reformer while proposing a cut to both the gas tax and transit subsidies at the same time.  Perhaps the plot of his first movie out of office could be how killer robots from the future kill off humans by replacing elected officials who care about the environment with clones who are only out to destroy it.

Streetsblog will continue to cover this story as it moves from a report in the Times to the floor of the legislature and beyond.

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