New information about gas relief plan raises questions

New documents from California’s Department of Finance provide a closer look into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push to send hundreds of dollars in debit cards to California car owners.

The budget bill documents reveal who is not eligible for the money. These include drivers who failed to register their vehicle in California by April 6th and those who owe any fees or penalties to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The governor proposes to transfer money from the general fund into the tax relief fund in order to send the money out. However, the Legislature must approve this move.

A few blanks are included in the bill because they will likely be points of negotiation with the Legislature. These include the total cost, payment amounts, and the limit on vehicles that are eligible to be in the state. 

Critics point out that the governor proposed the program so that anyone who has a luxury car or an electric vehicle would be eligible to receive the money.

Another point of criticism is the bill would allow the rebate to be processed by the vendor of the governor’s choice with a no-bid contract. 

Republicans claimed that this is alarming.

“We’ve seen how that’s worked. That’s led to government waste. These contracts that have no oversight that’s a big red flag for me,”James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), Assembly Member.

Newsom’s proposal is one of several circulating through the State Capitol to try to offset rising gas prices. Other options include suspending the gas tax or direct checks to California taxpayers.

This week’s spring break is for lawmakers, while the governor returns from vacation on Tuesday. It is possible that bank accounts will be refunded in the future, but it is unlikely.

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