SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL/KGET) — It’s been more than three months since Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic leaders promised to send relief to Californians in response to rising gas prices and inflation.
The governor and legislative leaders are still at odds on the best way to send direct payments, while Republicans continue their push for a gas tax suspension.
All sides of the issue have said they wanted to get something done quickly, but Republicans are criticizing the slow negotiations between Democrats.
Newsom’s administration told Nexstar affiliate FOX40 it’s aiming to have this settled by the end of the month.
“A hundred days is far too long,” Assembly Member James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said.
One hundred cones were set up at the State Capitol to mark the number of days since Newsom promised to send relief to Californians.
Republicans used the props to continue their push to suspend the state’s gas tax, which will be 54 cents per gallon starting July 1.
Gas prices reached a statewide record this week at $6.43 per gallon
“Families are being forced to make tough financial decisions when the state’s coffers are overflowing with cash,” Assembly Member Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, said.
But the idea continues to be a non-starter for Democrats and the governor, who have said suspending the gas tax would not guarantee gas companies would pass those savings on to customers.
“Governor Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders met Tuesday to continue negotiating relief efforts and other budget-related business,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said.
Leaders continue to clash over their separate proposals. The governor wants to send $400 debit cards to California car owners, while legislative leaders want to send $200 payments to taxpayers making less than $125,000 per year.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach a resolution on those two versions within the next coming days or so prior to the new fiscal year beginning July 1. The discussions were very good. They’ll continue, but the governor made it very clear that his continuing goal is as much relief as possible to as many as possible and as fast as possible,” H.D. Palmer, with the California Department of Finance, said.
Newsom’s plan would spend about $11.5 billion to help about 28 million people versus the legislature’s $8 billion plan for about 16.5 million people. But Democrats in the legislature have said their plan is the fairer approach and have concerns about using a third-party vendor to send out debit cards.
“I think we agree we want to be able to get money out as fast as possible but also want to do it in a way that is safe and reliable,” Assembly Member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said.
When exactly Californians could see that money is still to be determined, but at this point, officials said it would be September at the earliest.