In the middle of a severe recession, the California state government is doing what it does best: raising taxes.
On July 1, the state’s motor fuel excise tax will rise by 3.2 cents to 50.5 cents a gallon. That heavily regressive levy secures the Golden State’s status as the nation’s top taxer of gasoline. This coming increase—the third in four years, according to the Los Angeles Times—is the first time the tax will go up as the result of an automatic inflation-adjustment mechanism added in 2017.
That law requires that every July, beginning this year, the state’s gas tax rate be adjusted to match any change in overall consumer prices, as measured by the California Consumer Price Index (CPI).