California voters will be presented with a question on the November ballot that, if approved, would repeal recently passed legislation that increased and indexed fuel taxes and registration fees to boost state transportation investment by $54B over the next decade. Shortly after the legislation was signed into law last year, conservative political leaders launched an effort to repeal those increases through a ballot initiative.
Unfortunately, Proposition 6 has also become a national political issue in that proponents of the measure also see it as a means to encourage conservatives to vote in a state that does not elect Republicans to statewide offices. Their rationale is that the opportunity to repeal a newly enacted fuels tax, passed by a Democratic legislature and signed into law by the Democratic Governor, will provide extra incentive for Republicans to turnout and vote.
The Fund believes this ballot initiative is a matter of national significance because, if the repeal effort is successful in a “deep blue” state like California, proponents will be emboldened to repeat this ballot initiative strategy in other states that have recently passed transportation revenue increases. This includes “red” states such as Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and others where the cost of paid media is far less expensive than it is in California. In total, 28 states since 2013 have increased transportation funding. Of those states, 25 raised their gas tax and about half of them included some form of indexing. This demonstrates there are fertile fields for infrastructure opponents to attempt to cultivate.
As such, the Fund, along with the AGC of California and AGC of San Diego, made a contribution to the “No on Prop 6: Stop the Attack on Road and Bridge Safety” coalition. This diverse group, consisting of business, labor, and local governments, is working to defeat the proposition to keep Californians safe and protect good-paying jobs.
Update: The repeal effort failed. Proposition 6 was defeated by California voters – 56.8% to 43.2%.