George Runner issued the following statement in response to a proposed 7.5 cent per gallon gas tax cut that will come before the State Board of Equalization on Tuesday, February 24:
“A gas tax cut of this magnitude would be great news for California drivers, who are currently forced to pay one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.
“The proposed cut stems from falling gas prices and the resulting over collection of tax.
“Annual rate changes are required under a confusing and complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010 in order to move a billion dollars to the General Fund. Each year the Board of Equalization must adjust the gas tax rate to ensure the state receives neither more nor less revenue than it would have under the prior tax system.
“I look forward to considering the proposed cut with my colleagues when the Board meets on Tuesday, February 24. We invite and welcome public feedback and participation.”
Elected in November 2010 and re-elected in 2014, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.
BOE to Consider 7.5 Cent Gasoline Excise Tax Rate Cut
Sacramento – The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) will consider lowering the excise tax rate for gasoline by $0.075 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015-16 during its February 24, 2015 meeting in Culver City.
Since 2010, the “fuel tax swap” law has required the Board to adjust this tax rate by March 1st of each year. If adopted, between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the excise tax rate on gasoline will be $0.285 per gallon. The current excise tax rate of $0.36 is in effect until June 30, 2015.
The excise tax on gasoline pays for public road improvements and mass transit. In FY 13-14, the BOE collected nearly $5.8 billion for the Motor Vehicle Fuel Account, Transportation Tax Fund. Sales tax funds a variety of state and local programs.
BOE’s Mandated Role
The BOE is required by law to adjust the excise tax rate each year.
Gasoline Tax Structure Change in 2010
Drivers pay two types of state taxes on gasoline — sales tax and a per gallon excise tax. Before the “fuel tax swap” took effect in 2010, drivers paid the full sales tax rate (then 8.25 percent), and an excise tax of $0.18 per gallon.
The “fuel tax swap” lowers the sales tax rate to 2.25 percent on gasoline and requires the BOE to set the per gallon excise tax rate, so drivers pay the same amount of state taxes on gasoline as they would have paid under the prior tax structure.
How the Rate is Calculated
The projected average gas price during FY 15-16 is $2.66 a gallon, which includes the federal excise tax of $0.184 but not state gasoline taxes. The number of gallons sold is expected to remain steady during FY 15-16.
In addition to projecting sales tax revenue that would have been generated under the old tax structure, the law also requires the BOE to review the actual excise tax revenue generated in the prior fiscal year and subtract that from projected revenue for the coming fiscal year. This calculation determines the coming fiscal year’s rate.
Watch this video explanation to see how it works, and visit our media resources page for more information.
The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov.