California state Sen. Josh Newman is being attacked by Republicans for what has become a controversial war against potholes in the legislature, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Newman is standing with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has proposed legislation that would institute a gas tax and vehicle license tax increase, which will earn $50 billion in state revenue that will all be spent to improve the backlog of transportation infrastructure improvements needed across the state.
Newman told the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on Tuesday that a constitutional amendment is also needed because “prior history raises concerns that new revenue may be diverted for other purposes.” Each year, the state has taken its own cut to pay down general obligation bonds for transportation projects when they were covered by the general fund.
Despite the proposal being passed out of committee 9-0, conservative radio host Carl DeMaio waged his own war against Newman for supporting the tax. On an episode of the John and Ken show, DeMaio called Newman a “weak gazelle, the slowest gazelle, the one with a limp.”
The freshman lawmaker barely won his election by 2,500 votes against Republican Ling Ling Chang. The win ensured the Democrats had a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature.
Supporters of the recall need 63,593 signatures to get the question on the ballot.
Newman continues to support the bill regardless of the recall.
“It’s a pay-as-you-go bill, and it’s for transportation improvements that are critically needed, improvements that are 25 years in the making,” he said. “We’re not borrowing money. We’re not passing the buck to the next generation. Unfortunately, there is a massive backlog that must be addressed.”