For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 6, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law TONIGHT from 5:30 – 7:30pm. If you cannot make it in person, you can watch the forum LIVE on McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones.

Proposition 6: Voter Approval for Increase in Gas and Car Taxes

Current Law

  • SB 1, passed in 2017, increased the state funding for California’s transportation system.
  • It included a $0.12 increase in the gas excise tax which was effective November 2017, a transportation improvement fee that ranges from $25-$175 which was effective January 2018, a $0.20 increase in diesel excise tax effective in 2019, and a $100 fee on zero-emission vehicle registration effective in July 2020.
  • It is estimated that the revenue from these taxes will provide California approximately $4.4 billion this fiscal year.
  • The different fees and taxes from SB 1 will progressively take effect over the next few years and at full effect would produce $5.2-$5.4 billion annually, with two-thirds of that delegated specifically for maintenance and rehabilitation of local streets and roads as mandated by the California Constitution.

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 6 would amend the California Constitution to require voter approval for new or increased taxes on gasoline or diesel fuel and operational taxes.
  • Additionally it would effectively repeal SB 1, eliminating any gas or vehicle tax passed in 2017 through the date Proposition 6 would be passed.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 6 No on Proposition 6
  • A return of fuel and vehicle taxes to pre-2017 levels.
  • These taxes affect the middle and lower economic classes the most.
  • California is already expensive to live in and the SB 1 taxes make it even more expensive.
  • Requires majority voter approval for any new fuel and vehicle tax increases in the future.
  • Repealing SB 1 would cause the State to lose tax revenues of $2.4 billion within two years and $5.1 billion annually after that.
  • Over 6,500 transportations projects could lose funding.
  • California has a crumbling infrastructure and cutting the tax could exacerbate the problem.
  • Loss of project funding could lead to the loss of 68,000 project related jobs.
  • Breach of contract from lack of funding could lead to California having to pay the full contract price of cancelled contracts despite the work being halted.

Analysis of Proposition 6 provided by Meghan Shiner and Peter Leoni.