Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to send money to California taxpayers to address the state’s skyrocketing gas prices.
The governor announced the proposed tax rebate during his annual State of the State address Tuesday.
“Working legislative leadership, I’ll be submitting a proposal to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices,” Newsom said.
Details on the proposal were scarce, but a spokesperson from the governor’s office said the administration is looking to move quickly on billions in relief.
“The administration is developing a proposal that puts money directly in the pockets of Californians. It will take the form of a tax rebate,” the spokesperson said. “We are looking to move quickly on this, the Governor is focused on providing billions in relief to Californians who are suffering from rising gas prices across the country due to the ongoing situation in Russia.”
The governor will likely try to get his proposal passed through the state budget negotiations.
Newsom highlighted the proposed rebate the same day President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will ban all Russian oil imports, acknowledging that it will bring costs to Americans at the gas pump.
Gas prices were already rising amid supply chain issues, and California currently has the highest average price for a gallon of gas in the country.
The average price per gallon of regular climbed to a record $5.57 statewide Wednesday — up from $5.44 just a day ago, according to AAA.
Some gas stations in the Los Angeles area have been charging over $7 for a gallon of gas.
“Help is coming, help is on the way,” Newsom’s senior economic advisor Dee Dee Myers said. “We want to make sure that money gets in the hands and into the pockets of people who are paying these gas prices and not in the hands of companies that might take advantage to increase profits.”
Myers told reporters the rebate would likely be limited to people who own a car, the Associated Press reported.
It would also include money for undocumented immigrants, the governor’s office told KTLA.
Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon issued a joint statement supporting the rebate plan.
“Californians are rightfully upset at the skyrocketing cost of fuel. The Legislature will put the state’s robust revenue growth to work by returning substantial tax relief to families and small businesses as fast as possible,” the statement read. “Gas, food, and other prices are up, so our focus cannot be a small cut to the gas tax that might not get passed on to consumers. Instead, the Legislature will seek tax relief from the General Fund. This can avoid taking critical funds away from road repair and improvement, while fully protecting Proposition 98 funding for schools.”