Finally – Someone is Sayin’ what I’ve been Sayin’ for 20 Years – We Paid All the Fucking Gas Taxes – DVM Fees – Special Assessments – and Never Got Any Road Repairs – So Fuck Off.
Instead We Got a Bunch of Fat Fucking Overpaid Cops – Firefighters – Teachers and Public Employees – Who Think they’re Gonna Live Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on their Fat – Bloated and Spiked Pensions – Double Dippin’ Until They Drop Dead.
It’s All Bankrupt – My Friends – and You’re Gonna Get a Really Short Pension Haircut.
This is their Hail Mary’: California GOP bets on gas tax repeal
By CARLA MARINUCCI and JEREMY B. WHITE
07/05/2018 06:55 AM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO — California Republicans are banking on a ballot measure this fall that the embattled state party believes can stave off a Democratic wave in November — and perhaps even spark a GOP revival in the run-up to 2020.
Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city council member, announced this week he’s raised more than $1.1 million online for his campaign to repeal the 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax backed by Gov. Jerry Brown — and polls suggest it may be heading for a November victory.
DeMaio, now a San Diego radio talk-show host, insists he’s seized on a “kitchen table” issue that has energized voters across the spectrum. California is home to the highest average gas prices in the nation, according to a recent study.
The repeal effort — known as Proposition 6 on the November ballot — has also attracted backing from state and national Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. They are counting on it to energize enough voters to save a handful of endangered California GOP House members — which could prevent the House from flipping Democratic.
To date, DeMaio’s “Reform California” super PAC — which backs the California Gas Tax Repeal ballot measure — has scooped up checks from more than 25,000 grass-roots donors, with an average contribution of $37, according to the latest fundraising numbers, released Monday.
Republicans insist Reform California — which helped gather 1 million signatures to put the repeal measure on the November ballot — has seized on a uniquely “unifying issue.” That has helped it amass “the biggest grass-roots donor database” of any GOP effort in California, with over 380,000 subscribers, says GOP consultant Dave McCulloch, who is advising DeMaio’s digital fundraising effort.
“My hope is that the gas tax repeal will provide a template on how the GOP can be relevant again in California,’’ DeMaio told POLITICO, alluding to the withered Republican Party’s slide to third-party status in the state. “It’s a deep-blue state, and it’s going to be a long journey back to any sort of power. But the first milestone is making yourself relevant — and putting up ballot measure that cost the Democrats support. And it’s been a long time since the GOP has tapped that.”
Steve Maviglio, a Democratic consultant who has been involved in legislative efforts to preserve the gas tax, insists there’s “no evidence that the gas tax repeal is doing anything to rebuild the GOP.”
“Registration is down, coffers are nearly empty, and there’s no surge in volunteers,’’ Maviglio said this week.
Roger Dickinson, a former Democratic assemblyman who’s now executive director of a pro-gas-tax outfit called Transportation California, says the state GOP’s campaign — while wrapped in the gas tax protest — is really a front for the national party’s bigger political goal.
“It hasn’t been disguised that their interest is trying to get people to the polls in November to protect their vulnerable members of Congress,’’ said Dickinson, referring to seven California GOP House members who represent districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“We’ve known this was a partisan effort from the beginning,” Dickinson said, predicting that is “why they’ll lose it in the end.”
Brown himself recently tweeted that “this flawed and dangerous measure pushed by Trump’s Washington allies jeopardizes the safety of millions of Californians by stopping local communities from fixing their crumbling roads and bridges. Just say no.”
GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox, a wealthy businessman who has run unsuccessfully for office a half-dozen times in Illinois — and who remains largely unknown to many state voters — has made the gas tax repeal a linchpin of his campaign to defeat Democrat Gavin Newsom and succeed Brown as the state’s next chief executive.
Brown last year led the charge for the gas tax hike, which would raise $5.4 billion a year to pay for infrastructure repairs and expansion to the state’s roads, bridges and transportation systems — popular items in a state where urban areas are increasingly hobbled by round-the-clock gridlock. But polls also show that paying for the items with a tax is unpopular with the public.
“The gas tax repeal definitely looks like a winner for the GOP,’’ says Southern California-based Republican consultant Matt Cunningham. “On one hand, you hear Democrats bragging that the state is in great shape and that we have a budget surplus, but at the same time they’re saying we need to raise your taxes,’’ he argues. “So, OK, you’ve got all this money — and you need more?”
With a 20-year gap since Californians saw their last tax cut, Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen, who has advised former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson, says the GOP leaders are hoping there’s “a sweet spot in the middle of California’s politics to push the tax issue.”
But Whalen also cautions that despite the potency of a tax repeal, Republicans will have to first get past Brown — who is not only driven to preserve a legacy as he leaves office, but “has the luxury of $15 million” in a campaign war chest to invest in one of his key legislative wins.
California Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman insists that DeMaio’s super PAC fundraising take isn’t nearly enough to push the measure to success in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republican voters by 15 percentage points.
“They might have had a million and a half dollars — I’ve got more than $10 million in the bank right now and I haven’t started fundraising for the fall yet,” Bauman said. “This is their Hail Mary, to try to use this repeal of the road-repair measure to light a fire under their voters … but here’s the reality: They don’t have any voters.”
DeMaio says Democrats didn’t take the prospect of his gas-tax repeal measure seriously enough, and now they’re scrambling on how to respond. “They can say whatever the hell they want — but the gas tax repeal is a persuadable issue,’’ he said. “Even Democratic voters want to see it gone.”
His long-term goal for the state GOP, he said, will be to build on this measure.
“If you want to be a true opposition party, you have to mount a true opposition, and up to this point, Republicans have not been able to do that,” he said. “My hope is that that infrastructure will then be utilized to go after something else.”
In addition to a road-repair ballot measure for a future ballot, DeMaio says he’s already looking ahead and planning to use his growing database to reach voters and get a measure on the 2020 ballot that could incite powerful labor unions into a pricey megabattle — an effort to rein in what he calls bloated government pensions.
“That’s going to be a big fight in the wake of the Janus decision” from the Supreme Court, he says, referring to the recent decision denying labor unions the ability to collect “fair share” dues from members and use them for political purposes.
DeMaio says that if the gas tax measure has proved one thing, it’s that California Republicans can learn from Democrats’ admittedly effective use of social media, voter databases and one-on-one outreach to get out their message.
“My message for California state elected officials and the GOP leader is: If you lead, people will follow,’’ DeMaio said. “But you need to lead.”