CALIFORNIA, USA — Governor Gavin Newsom said he would not support drilling for more oil to tackle increasing gas prices during his State of the State address. Instead, Newsom pitched a gas tax rebate for Californians.
It begs the question, who would qualify for such a rebate? In short, Dee Dee Meyers, senior advisor to the governor, said you'd have to be a California resident and own a car. Officials said that also includes undocumented drivers.
It's a multi-billion dollar plan to send cash to Californians, and it would be funded from portions of the state's expected $60 billion surplus.
"This would put money directly into the pockets of people the same way the Golden State stimulus did last year. So again, it's money to help people deal with rising gas prices," Myers said.
About 60% of global oil consumption comes in the form of fuel, and the remainder goes to a surprising amount of household products. Fossil fuels are used in industrial fertilizer, which could raise the price of grain, meat, egg and dairy products. So, the governor's office is trying get things going as fast as possible.
"We know people are suffering right now, and we want to move forward as quickly as possible in partnership with the legislature to get money back in people's pockets," said Jason Elliott, senior counselor to the governor. "Obviously, this is an evolving situation. Just today, we heard news from the POTUS (President of the United States) that is changing the price of oil. So this is dynamic situation, but we want to move as quickly as we can."
However, the governor has not given any specifics, saying he will work with legislative leaders “to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices.” For some critics, that's not nearly enough.
"Again, there are a lot of programs that get announced by this governor but not a lot of details," said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R).
Gallagher is the minority leader of the California State Assembly and says the state's expected $60 billion surplus is proof that Californians are overtaxed.
"We should be giving the voters of this state back some of their money, especially in the trying times we are in -- when cost of living is through the roof," Gallagher said. "Gas, utilities, you name it. So there are things I think we can agree on."
Sources tell ABC10 that the actual details may not be hammered out until the governor's budget revision in May. For now, the governor's office is sending the following message.
"Help is coming. Help is on the way," Myers said.