I have been following the aftermath of the California legislature’s massive gas tax hike, which is slated to be implemented in January.

The Democratic Party supermajority swore up-and-down that the new funds would totally go to road repair and the essential infrastructure maintenance that this state desperately needs. The skeptical among us, recognizing that the state is facing an epic pension fund shortfall, suspected that the politicians were offering #AlternativeFacts.

One Republican Assemblyman, Vince Fong, is shine some light on the dark heart of Sacramento’s budget-making process. He warns that using legislative “shell game” tricks, up to 30% of those gas tax monies may be diverted into other projects and for other purposes.

Assemblyman Vince Fong said Brown is breaking his promise that revenue from the 12-cent-a-gallon hike would be constitutionally protected and used only to repair and improve California roads, bridges and highway infrastructure.

“It was promised at that time that all those funds would go towards transportation,” Fong said.

He said now that they are going through the budget process, “I’m seeing more and more, close to 30 percent of those hard earned gas dollars being diverted to no transportation items, and it’s not right.”

Fong is the representative in California Assembly District 34, which includes Bakersfield and the surrounding area. This part of California has been under-served by Sacramento, and he is offering the citizens in his district a chance to quite literally “follow the money”.

To confirm Fong’s report, look no farther that this article from the Sacramento Bee that describes how the Assembly offered 800 bills in just 2 days! Some of these bills are astonishing for their scope and potential cost.

…Friday marks the deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor in their house of origin. Collectively, the Senate and Assembly appropriation committees have more than 800 bills to go through before lawmakers can duck out of Sacramento for the long weekend. In other words, expect rapid-fire votes.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Sen. Ricardo Lara, is taking up its suspense file at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The 287 bills on Lara’s desk include several of his own proposals, most notably SB 562, his $400 billion single-payer health care plan, and SB 30, which bars the state from contracting with a company that helps build President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León’s SB 100, which calls for 100 percent renewable retail electricity by 2046, and two affordable housing proposals, Sen. Toni Atkins’ SB 2 and Sen. Jim Beall’s SB 3, will be taken up Thursday. Two Atkins bills related to official gender changes, SB 179 and SB 310, are also on the agenda.

Fong’s video is part of the effort to make the California budget process more transparent, and more sensitive to fiscal realities.

Californians should be able to see how the Legislature prioritizes state dollars and where specifically their tax dollars go. Sacramento needs to be held accountable for policies that continue to increase California’s cost of living based on the false argument that raising taxes and fees are the only way to fund the state’s needs. We will continue to fight for real budget transparency so that we stop the business-as-usual culture that is making our state unaffordable for everyday Californians.

Those of you who wish to follow California’s descent into a new, 10th circle of hell should plan to follow Fong’s Twitter account for more reports. If you’re not Californian, grab some popcorn. If you are Californian, grab lots of Kleenex.


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