SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Amid record-high gas prices, California’s Democratic legislative leaders said they are reluctant to halt a gasoline tax increase scheduled to take effect in July. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins said Wednesday that the $500 million from the increase will go toward improving roads and bridges and other vital needs. California’s average price for a gallon of gas is $4.72 compared to a national average of $3.51. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed stopping the gas tax increase and using some of the state’s huge surplus to cover the lost revenue. Republican leaders criticized the Democrats’ reluctance to halt the hike, which is tied to inflation that is surging.