Saturday, April 29, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 40
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Should oil companies be allowed to drill off the coast in SLO County?

Who are we to stand in the way of a company's profits? Drill away!
Yes but we should be sensitive to environmental concerns and only allow a few drilling operations.
No. It's environmentally destructive and the costs of a spill would be disastrous for SLO County.
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New Times / Commentary

The following article was posted on April 19th, 2017, in the New Times - Volume 31, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 31, Issue 39

Increased cost

California's fuel tax increases won't just affect the cost of putting gas in your tank

By MICHAEL SOUTHERN

I read because of Senate Bill 1, California's tax on gasoline is going to be raised by 12 cents per gallon; the diesel excise tax will be increased by 20 cents per gallon with the sales tax on diesel increasing by 4 percent (with an inflation adjustment); and a new annual vehicle fee is going to be imposed, varying between $25 and $175 based on vehicle value (with an inflation adjustment).

Is there a study available to describe the impact of this action on the average citizen? I would like to locate a copy. Surely, there was some debate on the issue where opposing viewpoints were raised.

Offhand, I see a significant financial impact upon my life. Let me see if I can summarize.

1) The cost of commuting to work will increase proportionately.

2) The cost of operating city vehicles will go up, thereby prompting an increase in city taxes and fees to recover the increased cost.

3) The cost of operating county vehicles will go up, thereby prompting an increase in county fees and property taxes to recover the increased cost.

4) The utility company, with its hundreds of vehicles, that provides my electrical service will have increased fuel costs that I am certain will be reflected in a higher electric bill. The same can be expected for the utilities that provide natural gas service, water service, and trash pickup.

5) Transportation costs for children being bused to school will result in increased costs to the school districts, which will ask the state of California for education money to cover the additional cost.

6) The cost of riding buses, trains, taxis, and other forms of transportation will increase dramatically.

7) The California State University system has vehicles that will now cost more to utilize. The same can be said for the University of California system.

8) Education costs, alone, will show a huge increase because not only will transportation costs for those systems increase, but the professors, teachers, employees, and administrators who have the higher commuting costs will, of course, want higher pay increases which will result in higher tuition costs or increased demands upon the state education budget.

9) Delivery services and trucking services will have increased fuel costs, which will be passed on to the consumer through the merchants who utilize these services.

So, I can see a cost increase for all the basic needs of every Californian, including food and clothing. Everything in Californian is delivered by truck, so every item will be impacted.

This is just my initial observation, without much research. That is why I am asking for a copy of any study describing the impact of this fuel tax increase on the average California citizen. Perhaps one of your reporters could ferret out some information. Thanks.

Michael Southern lives in Santa Maria. Send comments to letters@newtimesslo.com.