ORANGE – Today, Legislative Republicans joined government, business and community leaders from Orange County to discuss gas prices’ impact on inflation and call for California to suspend the state gas tax to ease the affordability crisis. Attendees called for the passage of Assembly Bill 1638 and shared their stories of how inflation makes it harder to live and do business in California. AB 1638 will suspend California’s $0.51/gallon gas excise tax for six months and use a portion of the state’s $45 billion budget surplus to ensure continued funding for transportation projects. 

“Gas prices are driving inflation, and here in California, people are getting hit harder than anywhere else in the country,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City). “A gas tax holiday would cut prices by fifty cents a gallon overnight, and with the surplus we have, there’s no reason we can’t ease drivers’ pain at the pump.”

“Hard working families are having to cut back from other expenses just to fill up their gas tanks,” said Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel). “Higher gas prices are eating up their budgets for food and groceries, prescription medications, school supplies, and other necessary expenses. With such an enormous surplus, this is just unacceptable.” 

“Californians pay the highest gas tax in the nation, which is adding to the skyrocketing cost of fuel,” said Assemblymember Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach). “Our communities are struggling to make ends meet while Sacramento leadership works to increase the cost of living even higher. I will continue to fight for hard working Californians and businesses because I don’t want to see more people forced to flee our beautiful state because they simply can no longer afford to live here.”

“The cost of living is devastating families, students, seniors and our most vulnerable,” said Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel). “For two years we have seen huge budget surplus – your money. It is time we bring some relief to the taxpayer who is suffering under the worst inflation we’ve seen in 40 years.”

“The City of Orange provides housing opportunities for all walks of life,” said Orange Chamber of Commerce President Al Ricci. “From the multi-level apartment buildings to the historic downtown, to the equestrian homes to the east, we have something for everybody. As a City that has been built-out, Orange does its best to provide low to moderate income homes for our diverse population. It is essential to have a strong workforce for our 16,000+ businesses in the City of Orange.

California’s average gas prices are currently $4.87/gallon, a new record, and $1.21 above the national average. A recent report noted that taxes and mandates add $1.27 to the cost of a gallon of gas in California. Even congressional Democrats have realized the impact of record-high gas prices and proposed a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax until inflation is brought under control. 

Other Republican efforts to fight inflation include AB 1626 to limit any increases in fuel taxes to 2%, AB 1952 to streamline and bring down costs for housing construction, and SB 843 to increase the renters tax credit. 

Video of the press conference is available here