SACRAMENTO - On the first day of the new legislative session, Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, joined with his Republican colleagues and stakeholder groups to introduce legislation that would eliminate the "hidden" gas tax, which is set to take effect on January 1.

"If the hidden gas tax goes into full effect, it will hurt families and working Californians who are just now recovering from the recession," said Morrell. "For many of my constituents, driving is their only option for transportation. They can't afford another unpredictable hike in gas prices."

Beginning January 1, motor fuels will be subject to new regulations under the state's cap-and-trade program, which is administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The effect of these new policies is expected to increase the price of gas by as much as 6-76 cents per gallon - a de facto tax on gas.

Senate Bill 5 (Vidak) would prohibit motor fuels from being included under these new rules. Morrell is a co-author of this legislation. He co-authored a similar measure, Senate Bill 1079, at the end of the previous legislative session.

"Families could pay as much as $790 per year in higher gas prices as well as $2,500 per year in the increased cost of energy and consumer goods because of AB 32's cap-and-trade program," continued Morrell. "That's why, over the last few months, I've joined with community groups and legislators of both parties in urging the Governor and CARB to stop the hidden gas tax. Despite these calls, our efforts to protect Californians have been re-buffed by the administration and his appointees. The Legislature must push forward and act on this pressing issue."

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