Gas rebate bill debate about whether to exclude wealthy, make universal

A group of Democrats is proposing sending a $400 rebate to every California taxpayer regardless of income or whether they own a gas-powered car. Republican lawmakers have pushed for a suspension of the gas tax, an approach they say would mean faster relief and less negotiations. Gov. Gavin Newsom made a vague promise to “put money back in the pockets” of Californians but has backed off on a pitch to tie rebates to vehicle ownership.

On Friday, Democratic leadership delivered another proposal that would give Californians at least $200, increasing that amount based on their number of dependents. That plan would include households making up to $250,000 but would exclude Californians making higher incomes.

Rendon said in a statement Thursday that the $400-for-all plan “eliminates some of the pitfalls of other proposals such as a gas tax holiday,” which Democrats have said would not help consumers as much as a cash payment they can spend on groceries, rent and other necessities. Democratic legislators also support a plan that is not specific to drivers, citing climate concerns.