Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly pens a guest editorial today warning that a secret gas tax increase in California is on the horizon.

A tax increase, which will negatively impact virtually everyone in the state, is lurking right around the corner but barely 30 percent of Californians are even aware of it. Effective January 2015, California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans to expand the cap-and-trade program to include gasoline and diesel fuel.

According to CARB, this expansion could increase the cost of gasoline from 16-cents per gallon to as much as 76-cents per gallon…or more.

You read that right.

If allowed to take effect, CARB’s proposal will cost the average driver between $7 to $10 more every single time they fill up at the gas pump. CARB has purposefully been keeping people in the dark by refusing to take any action to educate the public, until it is too late for us to fight this outrageous gas tax hike.

Our gas is currently taxed at 68-cents per gallon. According to the American Petroleum Institute’s Map of Gasoline Taxes, Californians already pay the second-highest gas tax in the nation. CARB is pushing to make us number one.

If this proposal is allowed to stand, think of the consequences. The hit to family budgets will be significant, as they try to pay for necessary gas to get to work and get their children to school. The elderly on fixed incomes, struggling college students and our young people who’ve just entered the work force will surely find this to be a financial hardship.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. This gas tax, because it is also aimed at diesel fuels, will increase the price of virtually every good and service delivered in our state. Food, building materials, new goods and commodities of every kind will, by necessity, see price increases to offset the new higher costs to get goods to the consumer. Nearly every business will be impacted.

Our economy is struggling to make a comeback and CARB’s plan would be a significant impediment to future progress. A coalition is forming to educate Californians and fight this tax before it takes effect. It is enjoying broad, non-partisan support.

Assemblyman Henry Perea, a Democrat out of Fresno, authored AB 69, which would delay the cap-and-trade rules until January 2018, so that businesses and individuals can prepare for such a substantial economic impact.

Where conservatives can agree with Democrats, we should work with them and this is clearly a time when we see eye-to-eye on the need for preemptive action. A delay may be the best we can hope for at this time, so let’s go for it. This is actually a winnable battle, particularly if you join us.

Here are some ways you can help. Call your state representatives and ask them to support delaying the new CARB cap-and-trade gas tax. Join the California Drivers Alliance at and sign the petition. There is a lot of information to take advantage of on this website.

I have placed a resolution on the Villa Park City Council agenda supporting the delayed implementation. Contact your local city councilmembers and encourage them to do the same.

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