As California enjoys a historic budget surplus of more than $21.5 billion, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing for more than $2 billion in new taxes and fees.
His plan calls for instituting a water tax, phone tax, and health care penalty known as the “individual mandate.”
“Without the mandate, everybody’s premiums go up,” Newsom said when pitching his plan.
Citizens would begin to be penalized in 2020 for not having health insurance in order to provide further subsidies for Covered California, the state insurance exchange. Within three years, the revenue is expected to top over $1 billion.
“We’re talking about close to $2.4 billion in new taxes,” said Republican state Sen. Patricia Bates, who represents both parts of Orange and San Diego counties. “Everything in California is costing more and incomes are less.”
Many in the state legislature remain cautious to raising taxes after former Gov. Jerry Brown pushed through a controversial 2017 transportation package that levied a 40% tax hike on the state’s excise gas tax and increased yearly vehicle registration fees.
While the campaign to repeal the gas tax, known as Prop. 6, failed at the ballot box by a margin of 56 to 43 percent, many Democrats in the Assembly remain hesitant to again raise taxes after Republicans successfully recalled Sen. John Newman (D-Orange) after connecting him to the unpopular gas tax hike last June.