California governor’s ‘freeloader’ remark spurs residents to repeal new fuel tax

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Updated May 24, 2017
California Governor Jerry Brown is under fire for calling opponents of the recently passed fuel tax bill (Senate Bill 1) freeloaders.California Governor Jerry Brown is under fire for calling opponents of the recently passed fuel tax bill (Senate Bill 1) freeloaders.

California’s latest fuel tax measure is facing a possible repeal after the governor there sparked outrage by calling opponents of the new legislation ‘freeloaders.’

Voters were already upset to learn that they could not vote directly on the fuel tax which, beginning Nov. 1, will raise the price of gasoline and diesel there by 12 and 20 cents per gallon respectively and raise vehicle registration fees as high as $175. Fuel prices in the Golden State already rank among the highest in the nation.

Senate Bill 1, which is projected to raise $52 billion over the next 10 years for road and bridge repairs and mass transit projects, passed both houses last month with a super majority with no votes to spare. Because two-thirds of the state’s legislators voted for the bill, California residents lost their chance to vote on it directly.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the bill on April 28, apparently became upset and resorted to name-calling when asked about critics of the bill during a recent interview with a large Southern California newspaper.

“The freeloaders — I’ve had enough of them,” Brown told The Orange County Register on May 12. “They have a president that doesn’t tell the truth, and they’re following suit.”

Brown’s comments further incensed critics of the fuel tax bill, including California Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who is leading an effort to repeal Senate Bill 1.

“Our phone has been ringing off the hook,” Allen told The Washington Times. “Californians are outraged. Jerry Brown signs a $52 billion tax increase with another billion to buy off legislators with no vote of the people, and, to top it off, now he’s calling them freeloaders.”

Conservative radio show hosts have been helping to gain support for the Repeal the Gas Tax campaign, which needs 365,880 signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

Allen said tens of thousands of Californians have volunteered to help with the repeal.