Connecting the Dots ~ Fred Allebach

Fred Allebach Fred Allebach is a member of the City of Sonoma’s Community Services and Environmental Commission, and an Advisory Committee member of the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Fred is maintenance chair of the Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards and an active member of the Sonoma Valley Housing Group and Transition Sonoma Valley. As well, Fred has a KSVY radio show on Sunday nights at 8:PM, participates in the Sonoma Valley Action Coalition for immigration issues, and with the Sonoma Climate Coalition.


Thoughts on the gas tax repeal

Posted on July 11, 2018 by Fred Allebach

I find myself actually interested in the statewide Republican proposal to repeal the gas tax. While I am usually a liberal, and I see the need to fix up Highway 37, for SMART, and for local projects, I also can’t afford an extra $500 to $700 a year for this tax.

California is great in many ways, and now with a federal government trying to overtly sabotage the state, we do need locally-generated money to pull off the many projects and programs we need to take care of ourselves.

Now, if the powers that be had been aggressively working to protect my constituency, the working poor who are getting massively squeezed by high rents, crazy inflated prices all around, low wages, and being anonymously externalized one by one, I might feel differently.

I see no Wiener housing bill, no county housing bond, no raised TOT in Sonoma for affordable housing. I see a higher minimum wage coming along too slowly, and nothing bold on the horizon, just the same old stalemate and excuses put up by big money forces masquerading as liberals, as to why they can’t do anything. The working class is being hung out to dry and now we are supposed to support $500 to $700 a year tax that benefits who?

If the powers that be are so concerned about collective benefits, start with the most basic, a roof over the head and enough money to buy food and pay bills. Then we can talk gas tax.

I will vote for the gas tax if I see many representatives and their staffs show up and support the Alliance for a Just Recovery agenda. The agenda rollout event is on 7/19, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, at Christ Church United Methodist, 1717 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. Sure, you might find us labor and climate advocates to be distastefully arrogant and smug, but we do have facts and the moral wind of Truth on our side. We are a real force of gravity calling you to move Left, to a new flavor of common sense. It’s electeds’ job to translate this into directives for your municipal staff, so that we see some action on public spending that benefits the working class (which now subsumes the middle class), and that rolls back climate impacts for the survival of the planet.

My position on the gas tax: you can’t hang the working class out to dry and then expect their votes for other collective good projects. If we want to talk collective good, start by actively taking up the Alliance for a Just Recovery’s agenda, TBA at the event and concerning labor standards, affordable housing, and cutting edge climate protection features for new housing.

The gas tax strikes me as one more scenario where stoking the economy is the underlying goal, but the benefits then only accrue to businesses who don’t share the proceeds. This is not a Republican or Democrat thing, as Ralph Nader said, the only difference between the two is how fast they get on their knees for big business, and in both cases, that is pretty damn quick.

Warning to the status quo, people are fed up with the high cost of living and the threat of being externalized to some red hellhole in the interior, and with climate half measures that don’t apply full cost accounting to greenhouse gas emissions. The political situation is extremely volatile, and anyone trying to take up liberal middle ground as a fallback policy position, may find themselves on the wrong end of history on November 11th.

Too radical? Not going to win being too radical? Bay Area liberals should have thought of this threat when they were content for years to hang workers out to dry. The choice is getting clearer, take active measures to make necessary change from the inside, or the whole house gets torn down and no one wins. Ignore your worker bees, no one to build the hive.

Local liberal business as usual has got to be given a good shake and wake up call. The Trump government is obviously dysfunctional in a host of ways. We are on our own in California, and higher taxes and fees will be worth it if the benefits come down to all in a measurable way.     Working class voters in California can’t afford to support half measures by a political class that says they are liberal, but when we look for the benefits, they all seem to be going to business and not the people.

Until there is some definitive motion on social equity and climate protection, NO on the gas tax. If workers can’t be protected, nothing left to do but tear the whole house down. California can’t be a great state for the wealthy and Texas for the rest.



8 thoughts on “Thoughts on the gas tax repeal

  1. Well said. Vote “No” on the gas tax.
    Sadly, right-wing Chamber of Commerce types on Sonoma City Council have long blocked a livable minimum wage for workers in a City whose economy depends on low-paid wine & hospitality employees who commute long distances to work from places with (slightly) more affordable housing. If the gas tax passes, it will effectively cut worker pay in the City even further, and certainly nullify any minimum wage increase a tightwad Council might enact.

    1. . . . .and remember: to vote “no” on the gas tax, it’s necessary to vote “yes” – – – on the ballot measure to to repeal it. 😉

  2. $500 to $700 per year? Seems like a lot of miles, in where case _you_ are the benificiary of the tax in the form of better roads.

    1. Fred,
      $500 in gas tax per year, at 12 cents per gallon, equals 4,167 gallons. If you get 30 miles per gallon, that means you drive 125,000 miles per year. I think you need to redo your calculations, stop driving so much, or get an electric vehicle.
      Also, as explained in an editorial in Tuesday’s Chronicle, “California’s emissions from transportation … have increased every year since the state pulled out of the depths of recession.” The editorial went on to say that to reduce emissions, California needs tougher fuel efficiency standards and a higher gas tax.

      So, have you calculated the increase in GHGs if the repeal of the gas tax is passed? After all, I have often heard you say that to often government does not account for the increase in GHGs caused by development projects.

  3. Fred we are usually on the same page. I am trying to do the math and I must be missing something on gas tax. I tried to look up how much per gallon the cost was increased by the tax. And tried to find out how much more the average driver is paying per year for gas after the tax. My calculation on my delivery van gas use come in at like $60 per year and everything I can find on averages in reports on line come in at about $120 per year. Can you let me know where you found the numbers you have. Thanks.

  4. My impetus to write this piece came from the following article.

    The figure I used was for an average, family of four and I took the figure from the above article. I have a family of two. My partner is in school at the JC and drives a fair amount, but with a Honda FIT that gets 35 mpg. My own driving is way less and more local, but with a Tacoma work truck at 18 mpg. Our family projected annual cost with the new tax would be @ $300+ more. We do live check to check, so that $300 is a doctor or dentist bill, or insurance… it’s all going up and up and up.

    At the end of the day, a lot of progressive things we would like to do, end up costing us too much. We can’t shop locally at all bc of the cost, so this raises the WalMart dilemma. If the wage floor and quality life can’t be raised for the poor, they will tear the whole house down with unsustainable practices out of their own survival necessity. This is the main reason why social equity is a pillar sustainability triple bottom line.

    And, I would gladly pay a lot more tax if the benefits were better distributed. I just can’t keep getting squeezed at all ends and then get less and less benefit, I have to draw lines where I have any power to draw them.

  5. Fred,
    From the newspaper article, “Repeal proponents calculate the current charges amount to an additional $500 to $700 tax burden per year on a family of four based on how much they drive.” You failed to question the source of the numbers. You really need to do the calculations yourself. I would guess you end up between $50 and $70 per year increase in gas tax paid.

  6. Vote NO on 6. you can’t say you are into sustainability and vote yes on 6. That $ goes goes towards public transportation and improvements including future rail systems.. VOTE NO on 6.

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