OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

  • Allen for Assembly

  • Choi for Assembly

  • Kelley for Mission Viejo

  • Goodell for Mission Viejo

  • Shader for Placentia

  • Contact Us to Purchase an Ad

  • I Voted

    I Voted

Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Kiley’

Allen Suing Attorney General for Questionable Title and Summary for Gas Tax Repeal Initiative

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 13, 2017

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

California law requires the Attorney General to prepare the title and summary of every proposed statewide ballot initiative before it is allowed to circulate for signatures.  As I briefly mentioned in my live blog of the OC GOP Central Committee’s unanimous vote to endorse the proposed initiative by Gubernatorial Candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) to repeal the gas tax and car tax that were recently passed by the Legislature and will take effect in the next few months (the gas tax in November, the car tax in January), a number of committee members jeered when the title and summary were read, due to the biased title and summary written by the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).  Here is the full text of that title and summary:

ELIMINATES RECENTLY ENACTED ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BY REPEALING REVENUES DEDICATED FOR THOSE PURPOSES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Eliminates recently enacted state and local transportation funding for repair and maintenance of streets, highways, bridges, safety projects, and public transportation by repealing portions of the tax on gasoline ($0.12 per gallon) and diesel fuel ($0.20 per gallon), sales and excise taxes on diesel fuel (4% per gallon), vehicle registration fees ($25-$175, depending on vehicle value), and $100 zero-emission vehicle fee. Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced annual state transportation revenues of $2.9 billion in 2018-19, increasing to $4.9 billion annually by 2020-21. These revenues would otherwise primarily support state highway maintenance and rehabilitation, local streets and roads, and mass transit. (17-0004).

(Note: the bolding and all-caps are required by law.  It’s the content that is disputed.)

Assemblyman Allen intends to sue the Attorney General to force the title and summary to be changed to more neutral wording.  As I have spoken to Assemblyman Allen and his attorneys regarding the lawsuit, out of an abundance of caution, so as not to accidentally endanger his lawsuit, I will simply share snippets of other people’s commentary on this.

Though opposed to the gas tax repeal, the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board (yes, the San Francisco Chronicle) actually condemned Becerra’s title and summary:

California AG stacks the deck on gas-tax measure

Once again, California voters are getting more spin than clarity from a ballot summary of gas tax repeal that’s at the signature gathering stage. The hazy wording from Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is rightly infuriating the conservative architect of the measure…

Make no mistake, repealing the gas tax passed by Democrats in the state Legislature is a bad idea, given the crumbling condition of California’s roads. But the Becerra summary of the issue shades the argument unfairly. It shortchanges criticism that the money may be sent elsewhere and states that an oversight agency will be eliminated — though it doesn’t exist now.

It’s just plain wrong for a Democratic attorney general to offer a skewed legal summary of a Republican-backed initiative…

Click here for the rest of the San Francisco Chronicle editorial…

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is a former Deputy Attorney General, and here are his comments, as quoted by Joel Fox, Editor and Co-Publisher of the Fox and Hounds Daily:

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who authored a bill to give the Legislative Analyst the power to write titles and summaries on initiatives, said of the gas tax repeal measure,  “There is no question that the ballot title and summary are a cynical effort to mislead, misdirect, and misinform.”

And here’s Joel Fox’s own commentary:

The title of the initiative written by the Attorney General is a dodge avoiding the blistering word “tax.”…Feels like funding headed for the roads is being taken away but doesn’t indicate that the money comes from the new “tax.”

However, in the body of the summary the AG makes up for the absent word “tax” by being quite specific that a 12-cent gas tax, 20-cent diesel tax, and vehicle fees up to $175 would be eliminated. All, well and good, although the summary did not mention that the taxes and fees are tied to inflation.

…there are features of the tax increase bill, such as bicycle and pedestrian projects and state park and agricultural programs outside of road repair that a reader of the title and summary would know nothing about.

The financial analysis as part of the summary says the money is “primarily” for state and local highways and roads and mass transit. I suppose “primarily” is supposed to cover bicycles and parks.

Allen also protests the sentence in the summary that the Independent Office of Audits and Investigations will be eliminated. That office was created by the bill in which the gas tax was increased and the office does not exist yet. Allen argues that when gathering signatures for the initiative the summary speaks of eliminating an office that is not there. From the Attorney General’s perspective, the argument is that if and when the measure is on the ballot in November 2018, the office will exist and that the initiative would cancel it.

…clarity for the voters understanding a measure and facts should prevail in writing titles and summaries. Including the direct fact that the initiative repeals a tax in the title would have been fairer and more accurate.

Click here for the rest of Joel Fox’s piece in Fox and Hounds Daily

Here’s the Los Angeles Times, including a quote from Assemblyman Allen himself:

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), the leading proponent of the initiative, said he will go to court to have the title and summary changed.

“We’re going to challenge it in Superior Court,” Allen said late Monday. “Gov. Brown’s attorney general has issued a misleading title and summary,” Allen said. The lawmaker said “almost everything” in the short summary would mislead voters. We will wait to win in court and then we will be gathering signatures up and down the state…

Critics of the new law have said it lacks sufficient safeguards for the money to be spent only on road repairs and transportation and could allow money to be spent on other functions.

The summary also highlights that the ballot measure “Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects.” Such an office has not existed and is called for by the new law.

Click here for the rest of the Los Angeles Times article…

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »