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

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 raids
only months ago, ordering the state to repay the more than $3 billion
in 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 same
time, impose a new per-gallon excise tax. Drivers would pay about 5
cents less per gallon at the pump. The excise tax would not be subject
to 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.

  • The money stolen will come back to transit, but then it will be taken again?

    The environment notwithstanding, the governor (like Los Angeles’ mayor) understands how doubling down on car subsidies will help his political career. If he were to take bold steps to end auto dependence, he’d also disenfranchise the comfortable, and clueless, motoring class that voted him into office. These voters think that their lifestyle is never going to change, and they’ll wreck our state to see that it doesn’t.

  • joe

    You know, I used to like to watch Schwarzenegger movies, they were fun. But now they annoy me to death.

    are we now going to have another special election about this too? See what I hate is that we are most likely going to have to spend a bunch of cash on a new Schwarzenegger special election for this dumb idea to be blown out of the water.

    Why can’t we get these proposition voted on during the next regular election, wouldn’t that save some damn money?

  • DJB

    I blame Prop 13. It doesn’t even take a recession to throw CA’s budget out of balance. The recession just makes the pain worse. If it takes a 2/3 vote to raise a tax, the budget will be balanced (to the extent that it is balanced) by cutting state spending.

    Schwarzenegger doesn’t have the power to change that fundamental, voter-imposed reality. Like every Governor of California, he merely gropes for politically expedient ways to plug the holes in our sinking ship of state, always one step behind.

    We should be focusing attention on the broken SYSTEM that prioritizes low property taxes and supermajority tax raising requirements over public transit and many other worthy social goals.

  • @DJB – right there with you. Most of the state’s problems can be traced back to Prop 13.


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