Judge smacks down Attorney General for ‘misleading’ language on gas tax repeal ballot initiative

By Katy Grimes | In a stunning court rebuke of the state Attorney General’s Office, a Sacramento Superior Court Judge announced Friday that Xavier Becerra’s title and summary for the Repeal of the Gas Tax initiative is “misleading and is likely to create prejudice against the measure”— and that he’d “do a rewrite himself” to make it clear the measure would repeal Jerry Brown‘s increases gas taxes and vehicle fees.

Katy GrimesCalifornia Attorney General Becerra’s title placed on the gas-tax repeal reads: “Eliminates recently enacted road repair and transportation funding by repealing revenues dedicated for those purposes.”

Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, who is running for Governor, filed the ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax, and sued the Attorney General over the misleading ballot title and summary.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley said in court Friday that the words “tax” and “fee” don’t even appear in the title of the gas-tax repeal effort. “The problem with the Attorney General’s title and summary is that an ordinary, reasonable elector, who is otherwise unfamiliar with the initiative, would not be able to discern what the initiative would do,” Frawley wrote in a preliminary decision Tuesday.

The initiative seeks to repeal a package of taxes and fees that would generate more than $5 billion annually.

To qualify for the November 2018 ballot, Allen’s campaign will gather more than 365,000 valid signatures from registered California voters within 180 days from when he receives the newly written title and summary.

To read the rest of this column on the FlashReport, click here.

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