Vote No on Prop 6: The Campaign Is an Incoherent and Childish Effort to Distract You from Donald Trump

The defeat of Prop 6 is very good news
The defeat of Prop 6 is very good news

If you follow national politics, you doubtless know the name “Devin Nunes,” even if you are not a resident of his Central Valley Congressional District. Nunes, the Congressional Consigliere for the Donald Trump legal defense team (we’re too polite to call him a Trump Stooge as the Sacramento Bee does), is in trouble in his Congressional race. Sadly for Nunes, his devotionals to the president are not going to carry him to victory, so the Congressman has had to look for some other issue to lift his campaign.

And he thinks he’s found it. Unable to run on his own record, Nunes is instead running against the 2017 increase by the California legislature of the state’s gas taxes and vehicle fees. The increases will raise $52 billion over a decade, all of which is earmarked for transportation improvements–mostly fixes to the state’s crumbling infrastructure.

And he’s not being subtle about it. The Los Angeles Times reports that Nunes is donating campaign funds to the gas tax repeal measure, Proposition 6, which like Nunes will be on this fall’s ballot. Nunes’ first ad on Facebook, which he is spending his campaign dollars to promote, is focused on the state gas tax and why it is imperative that we repeal it.

And Nunes isn’t alone among national Republican leaders hoping to ride an anti-gas-tax wave back to keeping control of Congress. Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican who hopes to replace outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, has also kicked in funds (from his campaign, not his own money) to help support Prop 6. So have Ryan (R-WI) and Republican House Leader Steve Scalise (R-La).

While Nunes and out-of-state Republican elites are counting on a disinformation campaign to confuse voters and excite conservative voters who might otherwise stay home, there are two questions one can ask to discern whether or not supporting Proposition 6 is a good idea.

The first question: “Do you believe that investing in our infrastructure is a core function of government?”

If your answer to this is “yes” then you should probably vote “no” on Proposition 6. The condition of our state’s roads and highways is not good, and our bridges are even worse off than the surface streets. Because of a long, slow decline in the amount of revenue gas taxes produce, until they were increased last year the state had little money for maintaining, let alone repairing, these roads–and all the “belt tightening” in the world won’t put California’s infrastructure back into a state of good repair. New revenue has been sorely needed.

If your answer to the question above is “no,” then you still should consider voting against Proposition 6. Currently, the opponents of the increased gas tax and vehicle registration fee have not put forward a realistic plan on how the roads and bridges could be fixed without them. Even if you believe in the power of Capitalism and the Invisible Hand of the Free Market to fix the roads and bridges, the reality is they are falling apart now, and there is no movement towards finding a free market solution to the problem.

But there is a second question one should ask, the answer to which could override the first question.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

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If you do, then by all means vote for Prop. 6 and just put “funding for modern infrastructure” on your list for Santa this winter. Problem solved.

But if your answer is no, then it’s time to acknowledge that there’s no one coming to the rescue, and instead we’ll have to rely on basic economics to make this work. A vote for Prop. 6 from anyone who knows California’s roads and bridges need fixing is basically the same as asking for something for nothing.

But Santa isn’t coming to fix California’s roads.

It’s up to us not to fall for a shallow political ploy.

Vote no on Proposition 6.

94 thoughts on Vote No on Prop 6: The Campaign Is an Incoherent and Childish Effort to Distract You from Donald Trump

  1. Habitat for Humanity provides affordable mortgages and also renovates plus repairs after natural disasters. The idea was being able to build up equity even with the poor pay many must struggle with to make ends meet. I am sure those who it helps don’t have the negative opinion your espoused of it.

    https://www.habitat.org/about/faq

    You don’t overly read carefully, do you? I asked if you think Europe is on the brink of collapse based on the links you posted.

    Do you find it fun being angry, resentful and incoherent? I can’t even provide a response to much of what you spew because it is erratic and nonsensical. You are wearing out many of your soundbite accusations. I guess your repertoire is limited.

  2. Jimmy Carter supports an organization devoted to lifting people out of poverty. Why do you fixate on his net worth instead of his being a public figure who walks the walk to address this issue?

    Senators are paid currently $174,000, which is six figures.

    So in your reality Europe is on the brink of falling apart and everything here is hunky dorey? Nick Hanauer doesn’t think so.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014#ixzz3s2YSrId

    With pure Capitalism you had the horrors of child labor and unsafe meatpacking plants as Sinclair Lewis described in The Jungle. Corporations repeatedly deliberately lying in service of profit. Having worked in a call center I can assure you the level of distrust people have in dealing with corporations is acute.

  3. I know you didn’t say Carter was poor, And I never say that either, just pointing out his pension and what he is worth. Maybe 5 million $$’s is considered poor to your rich people. Can’t survive on less than 20 million $$’s. These days. 😉

    Can you explain why Bernie Sanders would say he is a 6 figure socialist? If he wants the so called 1 %ers which he is part of to pay ‘their fair share’ Show me how socialism is working and I will show you a rich dictator and starving people. And they taxed the hell out of the rich people. Do you want to pay 10 bucks for a basic Starbuck’s coffee?

    Social Democracy Is Not Democratic Socialism:
    https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-of-scandinavian-socialism/

    Denmark: Not As Socialist (Nor As Successful) As You Think:
    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/michel-kellygagnon/denmark-not-socialist_b_9011652.html

  4. Actually other than George W. Bush in 2000 all the examples of Chief Executives who did win the popular vote are in the 19th Century.

    Motley Fool outlined how compared to other Senators his net worth is modest.

    https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/04/17/what-is-bernie-sanders-net-worth.aspx

    I said Carter has directly done things to aid the poor, not that he is poor. Also he didn’t cash in the way folks like Reagan and Bush 43 did when out of office. Most of his wealth is from his 29 books. And unlike Trump he never declared bankruptcy and stiffed his creditors.

    http://amp.timeinc.net/fortune/2016/10/08/donald-trump-taxes-contractors

  5. As I already noted a mistake by FERC led to the Orville situation.

    If you think pensions need investigated call the hotline of the State Auditor — (800) 952-5665.

    Hate car owners? Where do come up with that one? Your logic for denouncing me as racist based on supporting SB 1 is a head scratcher.

    “Tax increases doesn’t do anything for anyone but the politicians and their cronies making money.” The agendas I examined during my research says otherwise.

    You might want to be careful about the personal ad hominem attacks. It does great damage to your credibility.

  6. Hillary won the popular vote. Or did you not get the memo?

    Actually politicians of all stripes when out of office cash in with book deals, joining K Street and corporate boards. But not all. Jimmy Carter has been involved with Habitat for Humanity. That didn’t make him rich, and directly addressed poverty. Bernie is eloquent on wage inequality and Motley Fool says is one of the poorest Senators. Sorry your stereotypes collapse under scrutiny.

    “And where was the ‘invective and gripped by resentment’ you speak of?”

  7. “How much did they pay you for this ‘opinion'” Nobody paid me anything. Input is given via blog posts, hearing testimony and outreach — all unpaid.

    The villains who didn’t catch the Orville spillway problem was FERC, not the state.

    Taxes have no benefit in your view, evidently. So inspection of food processing, parks, regulation of corporate excesses, ensuring clean water and air, etc. isn’t beneficial?

    Whatever.

  8. So you didn’t work? Just gave you opinion? How much did they pay you for this “opinion”. I volunteer for polling and got paid, so anything you ‘volunteered for from the government is paid to you. So did they give you a survey and you answered their question and maybe a short page for other inputs?
    There has been a surplus for about 10 years and yet idiots up North, didn’t care to do any maintenance such as the Oroville dame showed signs of cracks and they were warned about it. About 5 years ago, Moon Beam Brown was and still in office. Explain that. How about the newest project Moon Bean Brown is planning to sent up a satellite to ‘check on climate change’ where is that money coming from? Oh year that’s right, increase the taxes. I bet you just love the taxes taken out of you pay check (if you are working). Since you said that was a volunteering thing you did. Just remember the more you raise the taxes the more poorer people are getting.

  9. Proposition 69 provides assurance. The MTC says diversion is not the problem you claim it is.

    https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/Prop_6_Myths_vs_Facts.pdf

    “And look at who is behind the vote no on prop 6.” Unions and contractors, so what? I find more nefarious all the Republicans funding the yes campaign and have crassily said their motive is to have a wedge issue to draw their voters to the polls to hold onto Congress. Hopefully when this goes down in flames they will learn a lesson about cynical manipulation.

    http://www.fppc.ca.gov/transparency/top-contributors/nov-18-gen.html

  10. I notice you didn’t deign to answer any of my questions.

    Volunteer means it was not a job. And I was just providing context for what my opinion is based on.

    Your apocalyptic description of the tax’s impact isn’t supported by anything. After being in place for a year the dire consequences you allege should be happening already but aren’t. My regular transit use doesn’t show a huge influx of new users who can’t afford driving any more. And this is the first increase in 23 years so overheated talk of perpetual tax increases is unfounded.

    BTW Trump’s infrastructure plan was based on state and local areas providing the bulk of the funding so SB 1 is in line with the proposal of the #1 consetvative.

  11. It would be helpful to have your definition of being anti-tax. Is it opposition to all taxes? What is the purpose of government in your view? How is the gas tax “government interference”?

    A bad person? No, I simply would have little sympathy if you hold that stance and also bemoan potholes.

    Oh, yeah, I read both 1984 and Brave New World as a teenager. But I don’t see them as predictive, just cautionary tales.

    So I am some sort of dupe and uncritically follow a party line? Sorry. I have been involved with transit policy advocacy as a community volunteer since 1994 and understand just how necessary this investment is to our economic competitiveness and addressing mobility issues. When researching my survey of Western long distance and state supported passenger rail for the Rail Users’ Network quarterly newsletter I was fascinated all the agendas of entities in this state included items in which SB 1 funds were being used to address deferred maintenance and critical needs.

    If you want a socially useful topic to criticize state government about, start poking around the railcar procurement Caltrans has overseen resulting in equipment the three state funded Amtrak routes are fighting as to who is stuck with them. That is a dismaying situation happening below the radar except among a few of us policy wonks. Ugh!

  12. @ Marven Norman There have been many taxes and increases to gas and registration fees to pay for road infrastructure over the years that were supposed to be used for road and bridge repairs, etc. Unfortunately the state legislature thinks whatever money is in the state coffers can be used for whatever their pet projects are like 100 percent green (wind, solar) energy by 2040 or paying the legal and health care costs for undocumented immigrants. So when the money is needed for roads, guess what? The money has been taken for something else. This latest increase is costing us a lot and again no assurance that it will be used on anything related to roads. So look in a couple of years, or less, for another increase to cover what has disappeared again.
    It adds up. Maybe you as a rich guy can afford 12 cents more per gallon. But it isn’t just 12 cents per gallon, the Cap and trade tax went up and now we are paying a total 75 cents more per gallon. Tell that to the poor illegals who needs a car and will be paying up to $700 per year. And look at who is behind the vote no on prop 6.

  13. @Dana Gabbard Care to explain? I am anti-tax am I a bad person? I am Anti-government interference in my personal life, am I a bad person? Don’t believe what Moon Bean Brown and Kevin ‘Anchor baby’ deleon, Toni Akins tell you. Those people think you are stupid and you have to do as they say because they know what is best. And they think raising your taxes and telling you that you are a baby and that big daddy government has to control you.
    Ever read 1984? Or Brave New World? Both book were written in the late 1940’s and 1950’s respectably, Some why those writer knew what the future holds in store.

  14. That’s right, laugh as your arguments disintegrate. A healthy attitude. Show the world a happy face while inside you rage at the disconnect between how things are and how you think they should be. My condolences.

  15. So how do new roads happen without bulldozing neighborhoods?

    Proposition 69 passed in June so that is not going to happen with SB1 funds. Empty rhetoric.

    How about being up front about an agenda to torpedo active transportation, sustainability, livability etc to destroy is by chaining us to the all mighty car? Gridlock forever, hooray! More roads, hooray!

  16. Bulldoze neighborhoods… your words not mine. Go ahead, try and divert, polarize but the past behavior of California’s legislative bait&switch, sleight-of-hand tricks with public transportation funding is well established.

  17. Actually Republicans are clear their motive is to draw their voters who are strongly anti-tax to the polls to aid them holding the House. Their alleged alternative solution if it passes is disingenuous. We should not reward crass manipulation. Very distasteful.

  18. Boy, do you need a dose of sunshine to chase the blues away. BTW, do you consider rail on Europe and Asia a failure? I don’t believe many systems there fit the 15,000/sq.mi. threshold.

    Hope your shadow masters pay well for this zigzag trolling.

  19. What we need is to maintain existing roads, not new roads. Or are you planning to go to neighborhoods that will be bulldozed for the new roads you seem to feel are the be all/end all of transportation improvement? SB 1 is tackling deferred maintenance and critical enhancements to our multi-modal transportation network. Vote yes on 6 and reap the whirlwind.

  20. To understand how bankrupt (heh) the argument is for a gas tax repeal, a lone Republican (Anthony Cannella) did in fact vote for it, which funded much needed ACE improvements.

    If anything, the most basic argument for SB-1 is this: it’ll make Amtrak great again. Or just better, really. By 2020 SB-1 will create hourly train service between Sacramento and San Jose via Altamont, a remarkable achievement meanwhile Valley Link gets built too allowing for more eBART expansion along 680 and the Mococo Line.

    Taxes work, and some Republicans are starting to realize that they have to deliver on building things if they want to keep their jobs. Nunes trying to destroy work that has been done isn’t pliable.

  21. Buried in the fine print, where most voters don’t venture. People think they’re voting to fix our roads, but instead they’re actually diverting funds to go to HSR and electric city buses.

    If you don’t want to “wreak absolute havoc to transportation funding for years”, then advocate for clarity. You want bike paths, propose a bike path bill. You want transit funding, advocate for a transit bill.

    What we have now are repeated attempts to sell the public on improving our road system, when the fact of the matter is that the intention is to spend as little as possible on new roads and as much as possible on alternate methods. It’s simply disingenuous, and has come to define California state politics.

  22. Can you name the U.S. president who raised taxes during a recession to fund increased infrastructure investment? Must be a real liberal, right? Nope, Actually, it was none other than Reagan, in 1982. He made a tough decision to ensure we had adequate investment in our transportation network. He raised auto fuel taxes 125%. At least that’s what the Washington Post found out when they went to the Reagan Library.

    Maryland elects republican governor, fixes the roads, lowers taxes, the
    state now has a 500 million dollar surplus………California had a 6
    billion dollar surplus, the result of them raising taxes……….Again.
    So naturally, Streetsblog churns out Anti-Trump anti-republican political messages for some reason… The notion that Republicans are anti-transit may be true, but it doesn’t matter cause transit wont be around regardless of how many subsidies thrown at it. The fact is either party hates taxes if it’s not spent the way they like…

    Buses use the same infrastructure as cars so a highway spending bill is not a detriment to bus utilization. Where as lightrail costs Billions, guts bus service to pay for it’s upkeep, creates new taxation zones because lightrail doesn’t begin to cover it’s operating expenses with fares because so few people use it. Without a population density of over 15,000 per square mile or a population of 1.5 million or more, rail transit is a waste of money. California’s massive 400 billion dollars in rail ambitions will collapse sooner or later and people that once supported HSR have relented arguing the program is a white elephant. Nevermind the fact that just about everywhere, transit ridership is declining nationwide. Yet these voting measures and concept sketches and outreach programs are just another example of transit agencies putting a positive spin on desperate situation. To cope with declines in ridership that have been happening year after year that are
    completely beyond the agency’s control. I suspect we’re going to be
    seeing a lot of this in the future and the death spiral of declining revenues followed by service cuts which will only result in more revenue declines. California destroyed public transit when they gave illegals drivers licenses….

  23. It’s actually not that regressive. SB1 provides a massive infusion of funds to both transit operations and infrastructure and bike/walk infrastructure, which are both also more likely to be used by those with lower incomes anyway. Additionally, because the vehicle fee portion is indexed to vehicle value, those with expensive cars are also paying quite a bit more than those with cheap cars. My only gripe is that they didn’t use enough steps on the index. The gas tax portion itself is only $0.12 which really adds up tiny amounts that are greatly overshadowed by market swings in the price of oil.

  24. If that’s the concern, Prop. 6 is the wrong vehicle to address it with since it will wreak absolute havoc to transportation funding for years going forward.

  25. Guess you’re amongst those who do not expect integrity from our legislators. This was arm-twisting in spades, and accountability is part of the overall process. Thus, recalls and Props 6. Thankfully, the people have recourse.

  26. What is has to do is that Trump has basically cast the government, especially that in California, as a bad guy who is wasting your money so please don’t have any taxes.

  27. Not sure what this has to do with Trump. It’s a tax to fix/build road infrastructure while making driving more expensive, hopefully pushing us toward a more environmentally friendly future. The main downside to it is that it’s a regressive tax where poorer people pay a higher percentage of their income than rich people.

  28. Sheesh. Nada to do with Trump.

    Yes on Prop 6, due to the way it was ramrodded through the legislature. Try harder next time.

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