By The Bakersfield Californian
The new Democratic supermajority isn't wasting any time testing the electorate's tolerance.
Sen. Ted Lieu of Redondo Beach plans to ask the Legislature to endorse a ballot measure to triple the state's vehicle license fees. The measure would return the fee to 2 percent of the vehicle's value. The fee was reduced to the current .65 percent by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Is Lieu crazy? What kind of way is this to thank voters who just rescued the state from financial armageddon? Lieu said the measure could raise $3 billion to $4 billion to help fund work on state highways. The money would offset the expiration of temporary funds voters approved in 2006 under Proposition 1B.
We get the need to fund roadwork. However, Lieu's proposal ignores the fact that vehicle registration costs haven't remained flat since Schwarzenegger cut the license fee. Vehicle owners in the Central Valley are now paying an additional, dubiously justified $18 to cover a federal air quality fine passed on to motorists.
Beyond this, the timing is awful. Any good will the Democrats feel they may have gained from voters in the recent election will be quickly squandered if Lieu's proposal isn't defeated. And Democrats won't find themselves with a supermajority for long.