#P Social Listening – “CA Gas Tax”

Here is the latest listener data for the California Gas Tax, November 1, 2017. The following are summaries points of the data, or discover your own on our interactive Dashboard.


  • Data – There were 8,270 tweets collected discussing items relative to the recent CA Gas Tax increase (November 1, 2017)
  • Period – The listening happened over a 31 day period (October 9, 2017 through November 10, 2017). There were 21 days of lead time prior to the tax going into effect, and 10 days afterward
  • Sentiment – Breakdown as follows:
    • Favorable:
      • Indications of positive attributes of rebuilding road infrastructure
      • Attitudes that the additional tax was not that much
      • Other States who are Republican-controlled not seeming to have a problem with their gas taxes
    • Neutral:
      • Advisories of the Gas Tax coming online
      • Getting your gas before it goes up
      • A journalistic “both sides” discussion on the tax’s impact
      • Electric cars being unaffected
    • Negative:
      • Overt displeasure toward the Gas Tax
      • Rage toward CA elected officials
      • Disbelief that people would vote for elected officials voting for this tax
      • The desire to move out of a crazy State like CA
      • Skepticism on timing (coinciding with “winter blend”/cheaper gasoline)


  • Huge Displeasure – There was an overwhelming 7-to-1 displeasure of the CA Gas Tax. The Negative and the Neutral advisories dominated the lead up to the start of the tax, and Favorable tweets began to slowly emerge once the tax was in place. The displeasure transcended both political parties (based on profile examinations & context)
  • Earned Media Effect – The Neutral sentiments were mostly retweets of earned media coverage of the tax going into effect, featuring both sides; there were many advisories to hurry up and fuel before you have to pay more
  • Highly Personal – There was a relatively low amount of Negative sentiment retweeting; this indicates a more personal relationship to the Gas Tax and a need to react to it as opposed to just sharing what someone else said
  • Not Many Reasons for the Tax – On the flip-side, the Favorable sentiment showed a great deal of retweeting, illustrating a deficiency of arguments for the CA Gas Tax, and echoing the common wisdom of the tax proponents

View the Gas Tax Dashboard here

  • Page 1 – Search Tweets, summarize sentiment, and visualize words
  • Page 2 – Drill into sentiment; keyword search & groupings

Kevin Perkins

Now is the Time to Lead

Almost every day, I get asked a series of questions on my approach to social platforms. Working for a high profile California State Senator, I have been charged with creating a strong message and disseminating the message to the masses.  It is often a challenge but extremely rewarding. Although I feel I do a good job, I know that I can do better.  As a party, we have NO CHOICE but to do better. We have the message that makes sense, but how will we share it in a way that people will listen?

Here are a few thoughts that I feel may help you get started on the right foot:

  1. Consistency – Nobody wants to follow a group on social media if they post once every few days. The social media platforms that have created “ravenous” fans will want to know what you’re saying–as soon as possible. If you are not posting each and every day on various platforms–several times per day–you are missing the boat. And know this: once they’ve left, it is almost impossible to get them back.
  2. Intentional – Have a plan. When I was a kid, my mother would remind me to never do something to “just do something”.  Rather, have a purpose each and every day. Know “why” you are making that post. Understand your audience. Finally, make a plan and execute it.
  3. Professional – Nothing says “cute” more than frolicking kittens. On the same note, nothing says “strange” more than frolicking kittens on your professional page. We all need some levity in our lives, but it’s important to understand the time and place.

In the end, it is work. It is a lot of work. Often times, we look to an intern or someone who does not fully understand the importance of messaging and say, “Hey, you know how to do Facebook, can you handle our page?” and think that’s enough.

Just so you know, it isn’t.

Now is the time to lead,
Pasquale Talarico

Water Tax Enthusiasm & Control

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, pumps his fist in celebration after his storm water bill was approved by the Assembly, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. If signed by the governor, Hertzberg’s SB231 would let local governments charge residents for storm water management systems without voter approval.

Sen. Steyer calling for SB 623, because California is have “a safe drinking water crisis”

A bill passed in the CA Assembly Thursday, August 31, 2017 would in effect tax rain.

Yup, that’s right. Rain.

The lawmakers in Sacramento have decided that local governments would be allowed to TAX (not “charge” as it claims) residents without even getting their approval for such a measure. The bill claims the exception for “sewer, rain, and refuse”, which would circumvent a 1996 law requiring Californians to approve new taxes. It’s not clear what the fiscal impact will be. My guess is it will vary from community to community.

But there’s a larger water tax & control play happening in Sacramento.

The latest Senate Bill (623) “will impose, until July 1, 2020, a safe and affordable drinking water fee in specified amounts on each customer of a public water system, to be administered by the state board, in consultation with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, in accordance with the Fee Collection Procedures Law.” What’s happening is you will have to pay into a fund for all water use: drinking water (bottled, tap), irrigation, farming, etc. This, in essence, removes local controls from the water districts and centralizes it all into a tightly controlled Board of unelected officials who will set the fees (“taxes”) and set the rules on consumption.

Kevin Perkins