California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to raise the state's gasoline tax despite record-high prices at the pump and sinking poll numbers of President Biden ahead of the midterm elections.
Newsom's office said earlier this week that California lawmakers are unlikely to stop the annual summer increase in the state's gasoline tax ahead of a May 1 deadline. This means California motorists will be hit with a 5.6% gas tax hike scheduled to take effect on July 1.
"But lawmakers will almost certainly fail to stop the gas tax increase from taking place because they would need to pass legislation by Sunday in order to do so – and have yet to introduce a bill on the matter," Fox News said.
Newsom's spokesperson Alex Stack said the governor could offer gas relief to Californians via direct payments (stimulus checks).
"It is clear now that the Legislature will not act in time to provide that immediate, limited relief, but we look forward to working with lawmakers on the Governor's proposal for direct payments to Californians wrestling with rising prices," Stack said.
California leads the nation with the highest gas tax at 51 cents per gallon. The gas tax after July 1 will stand at 53.9 cents per gallon, an increase of 3 cents.
Earlier this year, Newsom proposed to suspend the scheduled adjustment on the state gas tax, though it appears that won't be happening. He has also offered stimulus checks for drivers to offset soaring fuel costs. Still, nothing has been passed to give drivers relief.
Newsom's timing of letting the gas tax pass comes as President Biden's polling numbers have cratered ahead of the midterm elections.
This year, many folks will be voting with their empty wallets as the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve have failed to tame inflation. There's even a risk gas prices could be headed higher as global oil markets tighten amid shrinking Russian supplies. Biden's SPR releases have yet to curb higher prices.
Tightening global crude supplies are set to release the "second wave" of the oil price shock that could increase prices (again), effectively dooming Democrats even more in midterms.