SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Politicians are feeling the pressure from our rising gas prices. Both state and federal elected leaders are now scrambling to help constituents and there are several plans on the table, from suspending the gas tax to directly sending you hundreds of dollars.
A group of Democratic State Assemblymembers want to send all California taxpayers a $400 rebate.
The plan would cost around $9 billion and would come from the state's nearly $50 billion surplus and could offset California's gas tax.
“That $400 for most Californians, the average Californians, for the average vehicle, that's 52 trips to the pump,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. “That's a yearlong gas tax holiday,”
The money would go to everyone, even those who don't drive. Democrats support that position by arguing inflation is hurting all Californians.
Erik Gartzke just paid $80 to fill his tank, so he feels the pain. But the U.C. San Diego professor doesn't understand that logic.
“If you give everybody more money because of inflation, then you have inflation,” Professor Gartzke said. “That's literally the definition of inflation. So that's part of the problem.”
Republicans are pushing to suspend the gas tax. They believe it would bring help faster to those who drive more. Their initial bill was rejected by Democrats on Monday, but they're planning to try again later this week.
“We are offering the legislature to be on the side of hard-working Californians by suspending the state gas tax in its entirety,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. “This will save Californians 50 cents a gallon immediately.”
In Washington, elected leaders are considering multiple plans, including H.R. 7143.
If passed, it would send individual taxpayers $100 a month and couples $200, when the national average for gas is over $4 a gallon.
Another proposal would tax oil companies that make profits this year that are well above their average. That money would then be sent to all taxpayers as a credit.
Professor Gartzke believes state leaders will act faster than federal officials, and since Democrats control Sacramento, a rebate seems more likely than suspending the gas tax.
But with prices continuing to go up, for drivers, relief is still too far down the road.
WATCH RELATED: Californians still paying 'mystery surcharge' with gas prices (March 2022)