As multiple gas relief proposals are floated by the governor and state lawmakers, Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham said he’s open to the different options.
“I will support any and all proposals to give folks some relief from these gas prices,” the San Luis Obispo Republican, whose district includes northern Santa Barbara County, said on social media Thursday.
On Thursday, California’s gas prices continued to climb, reaching $5.88 a gallon. The national average fell to $4.24 Thursday.
In Santa Barbara, the average fuel prices are even higher: Regular fuel is about $5.94 a gallon while diesel is $6.25, according to figures from the American Automobile Association.
A representative for Assemblymember Steve Bennett, D-Ventura, whose district includes the Santa Barbara area, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sen. Monique Limón, a Democrat who represents Santa Barbara in the upper chamber, previously told the News-Press to expect multiple proposals to counter rising costs from legislators.
A group of Democrats released a plan to give $400 rebates to every taxpayer in California, regardless of whether the person owns or drives a car, to counter skyrocketing fuel and other costs, such as utilities and groceries.
Another proposal crafted by Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon would offer rebates to taxpayers based on the number of dependents: A single tax filer would receive $200 whereas a family of five could qualify for $1,000, according to the plan. The rebate would be available only to single filers who make under $125,000 and joint filers who make less than $250,000.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also unveiled his plan this week after teasing it during his State of the State address. His idea would offer $400 per vehicle in tax refunds to Californians with a cap of two vehicles per person. His proposal would also establish grants to cover free public transit rides and unleash money to counter a pause in the inflationary adjustment to gas and diesel excise tax rates.
“We’re taking immediate action to get money directly into the pockets of Californians who are facing higher gas prices as a direct result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “But this package is also focused on protecting people from volatile gas prices and advancing clean transportation — providing three months of free public transportation, fast-tracking electric vehicle incentives and charging stations and new funding for local biking and walking projects.”
The Democratic chief executive told a reporter his refund would cover those who own an electric vehicle or no car at all and is open to working with lawmakers on possible tweaks.
Republicans have called for a moratorium on the gas tax.
“Senate Republicans called for relief for California drivers, and we got it,” Republican Senate Leader Scott Wilk, whose district includes the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, said in response to Gov. Newsom’s plan. “But they also need relief NOW, not in July. Newsom should take this further and immediately suspend the full state gas tax.”