San Benito County residents protest gas tax

HOLLISTER, Calif. - Some San Benito County residents are calling for change after the recent gas tax.

Neighbors held a rally in Hollister Saturday protesting the 12 cent hike. JW Paine, the chairman of the San Benito County Republican Party spent the day talking to drivers about the new tax, that him and many other republicans are calling unnecessary.

Rob Bernosky, regional vice chair with California's Republican Party says, "it's an unnecessary tax, the state of California has proven over and over again that they tax us for special causes and then divert those revenues for other purposes."

Governor Jerry Brown approved the gas tax back in April. It is expected to raise $52 billion over the next decade. Brown says those funds will go to state and local road repairs, but Bernosky says that's hard to believe when other taxes that are said to be going to road repairs, have not.

"There's just a basic mistrust you know on behalf of the public of what the legislature and government is doing with our tax dollars. We are taxed enough, California has the highest taxes in the nation, when do we say enough is enough and we say enough today," said Bernosky.

Bernosky also makes the point that the taxes are going to hurt the people who already struggle with money the most. "We have a huge amount of underserved people in this community, they're the ones that are spending the most percentage of their paycheck on fuel costs. It comes directly out of their ability to buy their kids warm clothes, good food and things like that."

While most democrats still believe the tax is necessary, Bernosky is teaming up with other republicans and politicians in the state to try and get the tax repealed. "we're taking a few steps. There will be a ballot initiative to repeal the tax, there will also be a referendum to make it so that the state legislature cannot add any new taxes without a two-thirds vote from the population."

Bernosky also says one of the main goals of the protests is to make sure the public is informed, "what are we doing with the highest taxes in the nation but also the highest poverty rate. 50 percent of our people are living below the poverty line when you take housing cost into effect, these people are going to get strapped even more with this new tax and we just want to bring awareness to it and we want to stop it."

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