California Program Set to Pay Drivers for the Privilege of Even More Taxes in the Near Future

Attention climate-conscious drivers! The Once-Golden state of California needs your help “fighting” climate change through taxation. All you have to give up is your privacy and your money by “volunteering” for a six-month temporary program that’s actually permanent. In exchange for your small sacrifice to the gods of climatology and big government, you’ll receive “up to $400” — maybe.

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Our leftist overlords have decreed a ban on the sale of all gas-powered cars in California by 2035. According to the Tax Foundation, in addition to the federal gas tax of $0.18 per gallon “California pumps out the highest state gas tax rate of 77.9 cents per gallon.” That’s almost $1.00 in taxes per gallon, but fewer (and ultimately no) gas-powered cars on California freeways will obviously lead to fewer gas tax dollars pouring into the state’s coffers. 

“California is predicting a large funding drop in the future as more drivers switch to vehicles that use less gas,” officials said in a statement to FOX11LA. To compensate for the revenue loss, California is implementing the Road Charge program. 

The Road Charge Collection Pilot Program is part of SB-339, the Road Usage Charge Program (RUC), which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in the fall of 2021 and extends through 2027. Rather than simply tracking volunteer California drivers and sending them mock bills for miles driven, this bill included the implementation of an actual tax collection system, with participants being reimbursed with an estimated amount in gas taxes used over the program’s timespan.

The program charges “all drivers — including those with [electric vehicles] — a per-mile fee, called a Road Charge.” Look at that — even the sainted virtue-signalling EV drivers won’t escape the government’s greed. I bet they didn’t know that would happen when they bought their earth-saving chariot. Isn’t leftist “equity” great? 

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Like most government tax grabs, the more you drive, the more you’ll pay, so “Think of it as a mileage tax” — you know the tax the leftist told us wasn’t going to be necessary once we all went EV. Yeah, right. While proponents claim the Road Charge program is simply a “pilot program” and not a permanent one, opponents ask when the government has ever given up the collection of a tax once it has begun. Um, never.

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Here’s how the Road Charge Program works:

ENROLL: Complete an online questionnaire that includes totally noninvasive questions like your car’s make and model, how far you drive on average, your pre-tax income, your credit card information, and, because it’s California, your race and gender identity, which is apparently important to know while driving. 

JUST DRIVE & PAY & PAY & PAY: Drivers will pay road charges to Newsom’s inept California government based on the miles driven per month. At the end of the six-month program, drivers will earn a credit for gas taxes paid while driving during the program. EV drivers “will receive partial credit” for their annual registration fee for road improvements. 

COMPLETE SURVEYS: Drivers must complete the beginning and end surveys to provide our leftist overlords with “thoughts on the experience” and to earn as yet unnamed “incentives.” Surely, those incentives won’t benefit Newsom and his business bro-cronies in tech and green energy, amiright?

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GET PAID BY GETTING YOUR TAX DOLLARS BACK: “Participants can earn up to $400 in gift cards” by enrolling ($100), completing the end survey ($100), and paying the Road Charges ($200 at the end of the program).

Sounds good, right? Well no, not really. This is the government we’re talking about, and like the casinos in Vegas, the house always wins. Drivers in the program pay the exorbitant gas taxes at the pump and the Road Charges in the hopes of getting some money back at the end when breaking even isn’t likely given the proposed rates. 

For example, if my family member enrolled, according to the Road Charge Calculator, he currently pays $13.98 per month in gas taxes to commute to his job; however, under the Road Charge Program, he’d pay anywhere from $14.00-$28.00 per month in Road Charges significantly increasing his commute tax cost.

As usual, Newsom and his leftist schemes hit the working class and the poor the hardest. His utopian “equity” plan fails to take into account that California’s poor and middle-class drivers tend to live further from their work and schools or that they may actually drive for a living, unlike the so-called “wealthier drivers” do. It remains unclear how exactly forcing poor and middle-class drivers to pay a larger tax bill than “wealthier” drivers increases “equity.” 

The Left is desperate to replace lost tax revenue, and it’s doing it under the guise of green energy and “equity.” But are everyday Californians really being helped with this new taxation or is it yet another stealthy way for Sacramento Democrats to raise money for their cronies? 

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“Commuting is a necessity in my district and a per-mile tax would be a huge blow to middle-class families,” California Senate minority leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) posted on Facebook in 2021. “Californians already pay the highest gas prices in the U.S., why make life more unbearable?” It’s just what the Left does.

Don’t worry. As California goes, so goes the country. California is a lost cause, but be assured that a Road Charge is coming to a state near you if you don’t stop it first.

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