Wait….an expiring gas tax? Making an epiphany a reality

Posted on February 17, 2015

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One of the vehicles that we’ve endorsed as financing for the state courts is somehow making a connection between drivers and driving and local court funding. We felt this way because the vast majority of all cases that hit every court are by far and away, traffic cases. So we were more than a little surprised when last week it was announced that the state board of equalization was recommending lowering the state excise tax rate on gasoline by 7.5 cents per gallon.

http://www.kcra.com/news/agency-looks-at-cutting-californias-gas-tax/31264560?absolute=true?par=nbcnews&site=nbcnews.com&cm_ven=nbcnews&cm_cat=Article

So we were curious on how this tax which applies to gasoline and diesel sales would look if the county the tax was collected in went to the local courts as additional funding to offset traffic court costs and we came across this page by the California Energy Commission that we used to work out the math.

http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/gasoline/retail_fuel_outlet_survey/retail_gasoline_sales_by_county.html

If the excise tax did not expire but was instead redirected to the local county court system the tax was collected in most of the counties with the most pressing needs would be adequately funded.

Here are a few examples of what would happen if the excise tax were redirected to the county court system they were collected in, based on 2012 estimates.

Los Angeles county sold 3,451,000,000 gallons. Their share of excise tax would be $258,825,000.00 per year

Riverside county sold 895,000,000 gallons. Their share of excise tax would be $67,125.000.00 per year

San Bernardino sold 878,000,000 gallons. Their share of the excise tax would be $65,850,000.00 per year

San Joaquin sold 299,000,000 gallons. Their share of the excise tax would be $22,425,000.00 per year.

None of us likes taxes. But it makes quite a bit of sense to tie fuel taxes to court operations because people typically purchase fuel in the neighborhoods in which they live and work…..and get tickets.

*Added: In Los Angeles, a city with three times the gallons sold of any other county, the amount raised would exceed all cuts made by a long shot. Perhaps in the case of the top 3 counties, it would make sense to redistribute a third of those taxes collected evenly among the lower 50 counties.