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Measure To Repeal New California Gas Tax Qualifies For November Ballot

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The measure that aims to repeal California's new increase in gas taxes has qualified for the November ballot.

According to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office, the petition needed at least 643,948 projected valid signatures to qualify. Monday, the petition crossed that threshold.

The gas tax was narrowly passed in 2017 and took effect in November. A partner measure placed on the ballot guaranteeing the money would go to transportation was passed by voters on June 5.

Gov. Brown was harshly critical of the measure's qualification for the ballot.

"This flawed and dangerous measure pushed by Trump's Washington allies jeopardizes the safety of millions of Californians by stopping local communities from fixing their crumbling roads and bridges. Just say no," Brown tweeted Monday afternoon.

Critics of the gas tax – which went into effect this year – have argued that revenue collected by the tax is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

John Cox, the Republican nominee for California governor, sent out a statement praising the measure's qualification for the ballot.

"Let this also be a message to every special interest in Sacramento, we're coming for you," Cox said. "You can outspend the people, but you can't outvote the people, because there are more of us than there are of you."

The measure has been seen as a galvanizing force for conservative groups eager to elect a Republican as governor while also defending vulnerable seats in the House of Representatives.

The number of registered Republicans in California has been on the decline in recent years. Before the June Primary Election, the California Secretary of State's office released numbers showing independent voters in the state overtook registered Republicans for the first time.

Cox rallied last week at the Capitol to raise opposition to the gas tax. His primary opponent, Assemblyman Travis Allen, made the gas tax the center of his push. Since his loss, Cox has taken up the mantle.

Gas prices have been on the rise in the past year nationwide, separate from the tax. According to the American Automobile Association, gas prices in California are up 71 cents a gallon from this time last year. Prices in Sacramento are up 69 cents a gallon. Meanwhile, gas prices are up 58 cents a gallon nationwide.

The big reason for the increase has been a steady increase in crude oil prices. A year ago, oil was at $43.38 a barrel. On Monday, it closed at $68.15 a barrel. That's down from $72 a barrel in May.

Voters will now decide the gas tax's fate come November.

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