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Newsom explains reasoning behind gas tax refunds

According to the governor's office, the refunds would include $400 for each registered vehicle that an individual owns — up to two vehicles.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom took time Thursday during a CARE Court roundtable to share some more insight on his office's proposal of tax rebates to address rising gas prices.

"I'm also very resolved to get money back in the pockets of people that have been impacted, not just by gas prices, but across the board," Newsom said. "Every one of us (is) impacted, all of us, (impacted) by the cost of living and inflation and the other challenges we're facing that have only been exacerbated because of war in Ukraine and petrol dictators that manipulate markets on a consistent basis."

According to the governor's office, the refunds would include $400 for each registered vehicle that an individual owns — up to two vehicles. That means Californians who own cars could get up to $800 from the state to help offset record-high gas prices.

People who own electric vehicles or others that don't use gasoline would qualify. But most businesses with fleets of vehicles would not be eligible.

"I should note that our proposal, like the other legislative proposals, moves money to individuals, and it subsidizes the costs directly, not indirectly," Newsom said.

As for why those who own electric vehicles are eligible for the tax refund, even though some have said those drivers are not impacted by rising gas prices, Newsom had this to share.

"it's not untrue," Newsom said. "And I'm completely open... to work with the Legislature if they want to create a framework (for) means-testing. In fact, we've already initiated that going back a week or so ago, looking to see what's possible in terms of the VIN numbers, the registration at the DMV to make that determination of the value of the vehicle. So I'm very open to that discussion."

Newsom's office also is proposing giving grants to make public transit free for up to three months. His proposal would give $750 million to transit and rail agencies.

Another $600 million would pay for a “pause” for part of the state sales tax on diesel fuel for one year, plus another $523 million to halt a scheduled increase in the state's gas tax this summer.

READ MORE ABOUT CALIFORNIA'S RISING GAS PRICES: 

As for when the money could be in the hands or bank accounts of Californians, Newsom's office says, "the administration will meet with the Legislature to negotiate the details of the proposal in the coming days. Once approved through the Legislature, the first payments could begin as soon as July."

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