Strong ironies are playing out today as California’s 14 Republican members of Congress support President Trump’s announced $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan at the same time they all back a planned ballot initiative to repeal the state’s new gasoline and diesel fuel tax increase.
For without the higher gas tax, California may see little or none of Trump’s announced cash.
No state needs more work on its infrastructure than this one, where more than 1,300 bridges of various sizes and shapes require seismic retrofitting and potholes are common on every type of road from country lanes to major urban freeways.
But if the gas and diesel tax increase disappears, California will have little chance of getting even close to its fair share of the purported new money.
That’s because Trump’s announced $1.5 trillion actually amounts to less than 20 percent of that amount, about $200 billion in federal matching money to be allocated over 10 years after Congress passes the plan, if it ever does. The other 86 percent would come from state and local coffers. Because of high public employee pension requirements and other higher-priority spending, not much cash is likely to be on hand here when needed to match and catch the federal dollars.
This reality doesn’t faze Republicans trying to reverse the fuel tax increase, amounting to 12 cents per gallon of gasoline and 20 cents for diesel. It also raises vehicle license fees on virtually every car and truck in the state. Those tax increases barely got through the Legislature last year and are the reason for the current recall effort against Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, without whose vote the hikes would have failed.
Republicans, especially current GOP California House members desperately clinging to their seats, believe they need the fuel tax reversal measure to survive. That’s because it now looks like they may not have a candidate on the November ballot for either governor or the U.S. Senate, which could badly depress Republican turnout just when at least seven GOP seats seem seriously threatened by strong anti-Trump sentiment.
So Bakersfield’s Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, put $100,000 of his campaign funds into the drive to qualify the gas tax repeal for that same November ballot. Devin Nunes of Tulare, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, kicked $50,000 into the campaign. Reps. Mimi Walters of Irvine and Ken Calvert of Corona are in for $25,000 each, so far.
None of them, meanwhile, opposes Trump’s plan, which likely wouldn’t do much for California unless the gas tax stands.
Trump, meanwhile, downplays the requirement for state and local taxpayers to provide the vast majority of his infrastructure funding. “For too long,” he said, “lawmakers have invested in infrastructure inefficiently, ignored critical needs and allowed it to deteriorate.” His plan would change that, he claimed.
Responded state Treasurer John Chiang, currently running third in every poll in the race for governor, “This is a sham of a proposal that offers too little and asks too much…Given the fact that California has at least $850 billion in public works that must be built or repaired, the President’s $200 billion national investment is no better than spit in the ocean.”
It’s even worse than that if the new gas, diesel and vehicle license tax hikes disappear. The 65 percent of those levies earmarked for highways alone will amount to more than $3 billion per year. That’s not much compared to California’s current needs, but it probably is enough to fix the state’s most urgent problems, when combined with previous gas tax money and especially if it’s increased by 20 percent ($600 million yearly) with some of the Trump money.
So the Republican House members pushing and helping fund the gas tax repeal effort are essentially working against the interests of their constituents even as they seek to motivate them to vote. This is nothing new for many of them: Most backed Trump’s tax changes last fall even though some acknowledged those so-called reforms would harm the majority of their constituents.
Knowingly casting votes counter to the interests of their own districts, then, is nothing new for these folks. The only real question is when they might do it again if they’re reelected.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, 2500 Tulare St., Suite 4290, Fresno. Phone: Office 485-7430 and fax 485-9689. Washington, DC Office, 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: Office 202-224-3841 and fax 202-228-3954.
Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif, 2500 Tulare St., Suite 5290, Fresno Phone: Office 448-2787 and fax (202) 228-3864. Washington, DC Office, 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: Office 202-224-3553.
Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, Hanford office: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hanford Office, 113 Court St., Suite 201, Hanford. Phone: Office 585-7170, fax 585-7175 or visit asmdc.org.
Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford office: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hanford Office, 101 N. Irwin St., Suite 110B, Hanford. Phone: Office 582-5526 and fax 582-5527 or visit valadao.house.gov. Washington, D.C. Office, 1004 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: Office 202-225-4695 and fax 202-225-3196.
State Senator Andy Vidak, R-Hanford office: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hanford office, 113 Court St., Suite 205, Hanford. Phone: Weston Anderson, 585-7161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit district14.cssrc.us. Sacramento Office, State Capitol, Room 3082, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900. Phone: Office 916-651-4014 and fax 916-651-4914.
Kings County Board of Supervisors: Tuesday, 9 a.m., the Kings County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit www.countyofkings.com.
Lemoore Parks & Recreation: Tuesday, 7 p.m., the Lemoore Parks & Recreation holds a regular meeting in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit www.lemoore.com.
Hanford Planning Commission: Tuesday, 7 p.m., the Hanford Planning Commission holds a regular meeting in the Hanford Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com.
HJUHS District Board: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 6 p.m. open session, the Hanford Joint Union High School District, Board of Trustees will hold a regular meeting at the HJUHS district office, Hanford Joint Union High School, 823 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford. Visit www.hjuhsd.k12.ca.us.
KRHS District Board: Tuesday, 5 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. open session, the Kings River-Hardwick School District will hold a regular meeting in the Board conference room, at Kings River-Hardwick School District, 10300 Excelsior Ave., Hanford, 582-0471. Visit: www.kingsriverhardwick.com.
Corcoran City Council meeting: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., the Corcoran City Council holds regular meetings in the City Council Chambers, 1015 Chittenden Ave., Corcoran. Visit http://bit.ly/2yDlQ6b for more information.
CUSD Governing Board: Tuesday, 6 p.m. regular meeting, held by the Corcoran Unified School District Board of Trustees in the Board Room of the Administration Office, 1520 Patterson Ave., Corcoran. Call 992-8888 or visit www.corcoranunified.com/Governing-Board.
KCAG Technical Advisory Committee: Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., the Kings County Association of Government Technical Advisory Committee, in the KCAG conference room. Kings County Association of Government, 339 W. "D" St., Suite B., Lemoore, visit www.kingscog.org.
HES District Board: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., the Hanford Elementary School District will hold a regular Board meeting in the HESD District office boardroom. Hanford Elementary School District, 714 N. White St., Hanford, visit: www.hesd.k12.ca.us.
PUES District Board: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 6 p.m. open session, the Pioneer Union Elementary School District will hold a regular Board meeting in the Professional Development Building boardroom. Pioneer Union Elementary School District, 1888 N. Mustang Dr., Hanford, visit: www.puesd.net.
KCAO Finance Committee: Wednesday, 4:15 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold its monthly Finance Committee meeting at KCAO offices, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202. Visit www.kcao.org.
Home Garden Community Service District: Thursday, 5:30 p.m., the Home Garden Community Service District Board of Directors will hold its monthly meeting in the Social Hall of the New Life Baptist Church, 11590 3rd Pl., Hanford. Information: District Office, 11677 2nd Pl., Hanford, 582-4503, email email@example.com.
Kings County Commission on Aging Council Committees: Thursday, 3 p.m., with Finance, Personnel, Legislative, Membership, Executive committees and Council Board meetings to follow at 10953 14th Ave., Armona, call for times 852-2828.
The Superior Court of California, County of Kings, is now accepting applications for the next fiscal year’s Civil Grand Jury. The Court encourages applications from citizens representing a broad cross-section of the Kings County community. Successful applicants will serve as Grand Jurors for the period beginning July 1, and ending June 30, 2019. Applications are on line at www.countyofkings.com or you may pick up an application form at the following location: Kings County Superior Court, Jury Services, 1640 Kings County Dr., Hanford. Deadline for applications is April 27.
2:32 a.m. Battery, 800 block of East Grangeville Boulevard.
7:45 a.m. Petty theft, 1700 block of North 10th Avenue.
8:05 a.m. Vagrancy, 200 block of Santa Fe Avenue.
9:19 a.m. Vagrancy, 1600 block of West Hanford Armona Road.
9:26 a.m. Petty theft, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.
9:53 a.m. Vagrancy, 1700 block of West Lacey Boulevard.
10:25 a.m. Vagrancy, 1600 block of West Hanford Armona Road.
1:37 a.m. DUI stop, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.
3:15 a.m. Petty theft, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.
3:57 a.m. Public intoxication, 300 block of North 11th Avenue.
4:16 a.m. Vehicle burglary, South 12th/Hume avenues.
11:07 a.m. Public intoxication, East Grangeville Boulevard/10th Avenue.
1:57 p.m. Petty theft, 1600 block of West Lacey Boulevard.
4:03 p.m. Vagrancy, 400 block of West Seventh Street.
7:40 p.m. Burglary, 1500 block of Oriole Street.
8:25 p.m. Burglary, 400 block of West Pepper Drive.
10:42 p.m. Shots heard, North Redington/Neville streets.
John Anthony Cano, 27. Suspicion of possession of injection/smoking paraphernalia and probation related offenses.
Fermin Flores, 21. Suspicion of parole related offenses.
Ryan Michael Barrios, 24. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.
Marelino Suniga Sumaya, 55. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.
Miranda Andrea Cornejo, 20. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.
Viviana Rodriguez Alcala, 38. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.
Gregory Jerome De Los Santos, 33. Suspicion of violation of domestic court orders, being under the influence of a controlled substance and warrant related offenses.
Michael Wayne Solomon, 42. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.
Monique Calistro Campa, 32. Suspicion of warrant related offenses.