SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A group of Democrats officially announced their effort to send $400 to all California taxpayers in response to rising gas prices.
“We are here to offer help. We are here to deliver solutions,” said Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Irvine.
Even those who don’t own or drive a car will get money sent to them through the proposal. Lawmakers said that is because everyone is feeling the effects of the rising costs.
The proposal comes as Californians pay historic prices at the pump.
“I do think it responds to Putin, Powell and prices climbing,” said Assemblymember Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova.
Funds for the rebate would come from $9 billion of the state’s budget surplus, which is expected to be more than $45 billion this year.
The author of the proposal, Petrie-Norris, said lawmakers landed on $400 because they estimated that is likely the amount most Californians with most cars could save if the state’s 51-cent gas tax were suspended for a year.
“This is a much more thoughtful proposal than a cut in the gas tax because a cut in the gas tax has no guarantee that money will end up in the pocket of consumers,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently proposed a rebate for California car owners, but he has yet to provide more details on his idea. In a statement, his spokesperson said they “look forward to working with the Legislature to bring direct relief to Californians who are suffering from high gas prices, a direct result of Putin’s war.”
“We all agree we need to get money back into the hands of Californians,” said his spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, responded to the announcement.
“I applaud their efforts and appreciate it. Obviously, we’re going to do our due diligence and go through the process. I think the solution she offered today is better than the one Republicans offered earlier,” Rendon said.
Republicans earlier this week attempted to force a vote to suspend the state’s gas tax. They said they do support the Democrats’ proposal but will still push for a gas tax holiday, noting both can be done with California’s budget surplus.
“We’re happy to talk about doing a rebate, especially in these inflationary times, but it needs to be done soon,” said Assemblymember James Gallagher, R-Yuba City.
Democrats are hoping to push the $400 rebate proposal through the Legislature this spring through early budget action. Rendon also said there are other ideas in the works.
When that money would be given to Californians has not yet been determined.