Letter to the editor, Daily News, September 19, 2006
(Written as a rebuttal to an earlier letter in the Daily News questioning why higher gasoline prices were not resulting in greater tax revenues to the state's general fund.)
I presume that Joseph Morigi thinks that a "windfall" in gasoline taxes should automatically fix all the state's financial problems.
Unfortunately, he appears unaware of how taxes collected on gasoline are, by law, allocated.
It should come to no one's surprise that taxes collected on gasoline sales in California are spent on transportation-related matters. It has been so since Proposition 13 reduced property taxes in 1978.
I'm guessing Mr. Morigi didn't read the ballot description for Proposition 42 in 2002, as it was all spelled out there. State and federal fuel taxes, as well as the sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, are used for highway maintenance and rehabilitation (including seismic retrofitting of highway bridges), public transit and intercity rail operation, repair of local roads and streets, traffic congestion relief and the like.
(For the record: The Transit Insider has an online tutorial about how transportation funding works for those interested.)