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California Legislators to Consider Global Warming Tax
Global warming fees to be used to tax motorists to pay for buses.

Mike Feuer
Next week, the California state Assembly's Committee on Transportation will consider imposing new taxes on motorists in the name of stopping global warming. Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) calls the new revenue to be collected from motorists "climate change mitigation and adaptation fees." His proposals would more than double vehicle registration taxes, and raise the cost of gas by 11 cents a gallon. The new revenue would pay for more buses.

Legislators will decide whether to limit Feuer's first proposal, Assembly Bill 2558, to Los Angeles County. As written, the proposal hands the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates bus and light rail service, the authority to impose either a three-percent sales tax on gas (11 cents per gallon at current prices) or a $90 hike in vehicle registration taxes. Funds raised from motorists would then be placed in a Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Fund that would be used on "public transit projects and programs." The bill is structured in such a way to avoid the 2/3rds voter approval requirement for new taxes. Instead, only a majority would be needed to implement the "fee."

The committee will also consider a second proposal, Assembly Bill 2388, which will take the existing $34 vehicle registration fee and add up to an extra $25 based on the unladen weight of the vehicle. A second tax of up to $25 would be added based on the level of carbon dioxide emissions. Together, the new fees would more than double the total possible registration fee to $84. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas generated by animals and plants that is essential to life.

Source: PDF File Assembly Bill 2558 (California State Assembly, 4/9/2008)

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