SACRAMENTO: Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) announced during a news conference today that there is no Republican support for increasing the tax burdens to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements. Senator Huff, who has championed funding reform measures to pay for upgrades to roads, highways and bridges, says he hasn’t seen any leadership from the Governor or legislative Democrats to stop the diversion of transportation dollars to other areas of the state budget.
“Our position is to stop the diversions and adopt more reforms,” said Senator Huff. “We’ve seen absolutely no movement out of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to institute these needed reforms.”
Senator Huff is authoring two measures in the Special Session on Transportation that would end the diversion of transportation tax dollars. SCA X 1 1 asks the voters to protect transportation taxes by requiring them to be used for transportation purposes. SB X 1 2 would dedicate cap-and-trade funding raised from taxes on transportation fuels to be used for transportation infrastructure.
The Senate Republican Caucus has also introduced a number of bills that, if approved, would require taxes that are collected from transportation sources to be spent on transportation projects, while improving project delivery times and reducing costs to taxpayers.
Senator Huff pointed out that Democrats who control the state budget process had $10 billion in unanticipated revenue in this year’s budget that could have been directed to California’s crumbling infrastructure. Yet, Senator Huff says transportation issues were ignored during the budget process. He pointed out that there is enough money in the budget to help pay for transportation improvements, but Democrats want new taxes instead.
“It was a majority vote budget and Democrats set the priorities,” said Senator Huff. “But they didn’t make transportation infrastructure a priority and instead called on Republicans to increase taxes on California families instead. They had the money and they just didn’t prioritize it.”
Senator Huff also confirmed during questioning that there was no support in the Senate Republican Caucus to impose new taxes on 24 million health insurance plans. The Governor convened a second Special Session on Health Care to enact “permanent and sustainable funding from a new managed care organization tax and/or alternative funding sources.”