SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Governor Brown's controversial gas tax and vehicle fee increase has launched a statewide campaign to let voters decide if they want to repeal it.
The new tax increase takes November 1, 2017 and will add 12 cents to a gallon of gas and 20 cents for a gallon of diesel along with increases in vehicle fees and is expected to generate more than $5 billion a year for road and highway maintenance and mass transit.
"Simply put the people of California never got a chance to decide on this", says Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach, "Jerry Brown was elected in 2010 with a simple promise, no new taxes without voter approval, but he did just that just a few weeks ago when he rammed through this largest tax increase in California's history."
Allen is trying to collect at least 365,000 signatures from registered voters to put his gas tax repeal initiative on the November 2018 ballot.
"Jerry Brown and the California Democrats have over-stepped their authority", Allen says, "they feel so empowered today in Sacramento, they have a super-majority in the Assembly, a super-majority in the Senate, they have all the constitutional offices, and they feel invincible, like they don't have to ask the people of California for any sort of permission on anything that they do."
Supporters of the gas tax and vehicle fee which includes labor, business and local governments that call themselves the Fix Our Road Coalition say the tax and fee increase is the only way California can pay for badly need road and highway maintenance as well as growing demand for mass transit.
They say Allen's ballot initiative is another example of obstructionist politics that Californians have grown tired of.
Those who make a living moving goods and services across the state say something has to give when it comes to hiking gas taxes and the average consumer.
"They keep raising our taxes and we keep raising our freight, we have to, it costs too much money to run these trucks", says independent trucker Greg Christie.
"They tax on top of taxes, that's not right", adds trucker Larry Wilkin, "people are just fed up, they're fed up, thank God they're waking up and getting fed up."
Other taxpayer groups in California are considering initiatives to repeal the gas tax.