No deal reached yet on gas price relief for Californians

After months of record-breaking high gas prices, state leaders continue negotiations over how to offer relief to Californians.At the end of March, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed gas rebates. Under his plan, each registered vehicle owner would get $400 per car for up to two cars.However, the Legislature has a different proposal, offering $200 to each taxpayer and dependent for people with incomes below $125,000.”We’ll continue to have discussions with the Legislature in the coming days. We hope and expect we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” said H.D. Palmer, deputy director of the California Department of Finance.Palmer said the governor’s proposal would get money in people’s pockets faster because it would go through the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of the Franchise Tax Board, which lawmakers have proposed.”Under the governor’s proposal, we would hire out to a contractor to be able to provide prepaid debit cards that we think, if we pass the budget in a relatively timely manner, we could get those cards out by Labor Day,” Palmer said.That plan would also require the state to find a vendor it can work with to provide those debit cards.In a hearing on Monday morning, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting questioned how quickly the state would be able to do that and how reliable it would be. “We’re all feeling the urgency to get the money to people who really need help,” Ting said. “Is there a reason we’d want to try a new vendor, try a new process rather than go with a process that we’ve done before?”He pointed out that the Franchise Tax Board already has a process for issuing checks and refunds and said, “For the most part, it seems like it goes rather smoothly.”Meanwhile, Republicans have been pushing for a suspension of the state’s gas tax. California’s 51-cent-per-gallon gas tax is among the highest in the nation.On Wednesday, the Legislature passed a $300 billion operating budget that Newsom does not support. Among the key objections was the gas rebate.While Newsom does not support the Legislature’s spending plan, lawmakers sent the bill to his desk anyway because the California Constitution requires them to pass a budget by Wednesday or else they don’t get paid.

After months of record-breaking high gas prices, state leaders continue negotiations over how to offer relief to Californians.

At the end of March, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed gas rebates. Under his plan, each registered vehicle owner would get $400 per car for up to two cars.

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However, the Legislature has a different proposal, offering $200 to each taxpayer and dependent for people with incomes below $125,000.

“We’ll continue to have discussions with the Legislature in the coming days. We hope and expect we’ll be able to reach an agreement,” said H.D. Palmer, deputy director of the California Department of Finance.

Palmer said the governor’s proposal would get money in people’s pockets faster because it would go through the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of the Franchise Tax Board, which lawmakers have proposed.

“Under the governor’s proposal, we would hire out to a contractor to be able to provide prepaid debit cards that we think, if we pass the budget in a relatively timely manner, we could get those cards out by Labor Day,” Palmer said.

That plan would also require the state to find a vendor it can work with to provide those debit cards.

In a hearing on Monday morning, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting questioned how quickly the state would be able to do that and how reliable it would be.

“We’re all feeling the urgency to get the money to people who really need help,” Ting said. “Is there a reason we’d want to try a new vendor, try a new process rather than go with a process that we’ve done before?”

He pointed out that the Franchise Tax Board already has a process for issuing checks and refunds and said, “For the most part, it seems like it goes rather smoothly.”

Meanwhile, Republicans have been pushing for a suspension of the state’s gas tax. California’s 51-cent-per-gallon gas tax is among the highest in the nation.

On Wednesday, the Legislature passed a $300 billion operating budget that Newsom does not support. Among the key objections was the gas rebate.

While Newsom does not support the Legislature’s spending plan, lawmakers sent the bill to his desk anyway because the California Constitution requires them to pass a budget by Wednesday or else they don’t get paid.

Contributed by local news sources

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