On Monday this week, the California Legislature and our own Riverside County Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, a Democrat, approved Governor Newsom’s proposal to raise taxes again on already struggling businesses.
Cervantes missed nearly 6 months of votes this year and over 70 votes the session before, but she always seems to be present when it is time to raise taxes. This time she is hitting taxpayers with a 3-year $9.2 billion dollar tax.
At the same time, taxpayers are getting hit with higher taxes from Cervantes previous big tax increase, SB 1, which hiked gas taxes in California by 12 cents per gallon in 2017 and 5.6 cents last year.
Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes was the deciding vote for that $52 billion dollar tax over 10 years. We are not even half way through that 10-year tax increase, but as the L.A. Times points out, the State Legislature will not even consider repealing or delaying this tax on Californians when more than 6 million people have lost jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic statewide shutdown.
Now on top of Cervantes’ approval of the $9.2 billion dollar tax increase Monday, California’s gas tax is set to increase July 1 by 3.2 cents, to 50.5 cents per gallon. The tax increase on working families will cost $440 million this year alone.
California residents are struggling with uncertainty and real financial pain during this coronavirus crisis. It should be eye-opening for voters when they see the dogmatic commitment to higher taxes this Legislature has. Raising costs on Californians at this time, when unemployment continues to rise, is unconscionable.
Suspending the Sabrina Cervantes gas tax increase is the least that could be done. However, most voters think showing up for work is also a minimum requirement, but despite taking a justified leave, more than three months later, my opponent Sabrina Cervantes did not show up for the Coronavirus relief bill vote or debate.
Cervantes was not there for the biggest vote this century. The ramifications of which California will be dealing with for decades. At the time of the vote Democrat Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins said “Responding to the coronavirus is one of the biggest challenges to face the California Legislature in modern times.” Cervantes couldn’t be bothered to attend.
She wasn’t there to approve for our schools and children the money for protective equipment and cleaning supplies, testing and hand-washing stations.
As a a Supervising Correctional Officer in the Probation Department, I am an essential employee at work everyday in this crisis and can see firsthand the public safety problems that the Corona-virus outbreak is creating. I spoke out to protect our civil rights and against the release of prisoners. I also reached out to our local elected leaders about keeping our communities safe from the homeless population that is being concentrated in government paid hotels up and down the state.
Sabrina Cervantes couldn’t even show up to her job in Sacramento for one day to vote. She missed the vote to fund $1.1 billion in emergency funds for the state’s fight against the coronavirus that has infected over 140,000 Californians and killed nearly 5,000.
Cervantes skipped the vote to fund protective equipment and cleaning appropriation for our students and school. Yet our Democrat State Senator Richard Roth, who is nearly 70 years old and in a higher risk group, made his way up to the Sacramento Capitol and voted. Democratic leaders in both the Senate and Assembly had allowed members older than 65 to miss session in mid-March, but if Senator Roth had not attended, Western Riverside County would have no representation in one of the most important pieces of legislation this century.
Despite her eager attendance at every vote for a tax increase, Cervantes could not be bothered to vote for millions in relief to CA families and businesses. She was completely absent for 7 hours of debate on the bills and was absent for the vote on local relief funding totaling $2,187,052 dollars (Riverside City & County Continuum of Care (CoC) $ 547,812.48; City of Riverside $ 1,135,237.64; and County of Riverside $ 504,002.12)
Just as Sabrina Cervantes was present and excited to vote for $52 billion in gas taxes, $9.2 billion in new business taxes and AB5 which taxes all independent contractors, in October Cervantes will be present to vote for another $14 billion in taxes when the state legislature realizes that the federal government is not going to bail out California for its own fiscal mismanagement. Cervantes will be there to end Prop.13 property tax protections and she will be there to vote “yes” when the majority party inevitably brings back their miles-driven tax, water tax and texting tax.
Riverside County needs a representative in the State Legislature that will be present for the tough debates and negotiations. As a Correctional Officer, I was not excited to hear that I needed to be at work everyday during a pandemic, but my duty and commitment to public safety took priority. We need that same commitment from our elected leaders – and in the worst economy since the Great Depression, we need to stop dumping more and more of our tax burden on working families.
Chris Raahauge is running for California’s 60th State Assembly District seat in a challenge to Democrat Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes.The 60th District encompasses the Northwestern corner of Riverside County, anchored by the cities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco and Riverside and the unincorporated communities of Coronita, El Cerrito and Home Gardens. For more information on Raahauge’s campaign, visit www.Chris4Assembly.com.