Taxpayers voiced their opinion Tuesday night on the current gas tax and on Proposition 6.
In November of 2017 prices started to change at your local gas pump after California state legislators and Governor Jerry Brown passed senate bill one. The bill raised gas taxes 12 cents per gallon, diesel taxes 20 cents per gallon and raised vehicle registration fees anywhere from 25 to 175 dollars per year based on the vehicles value. The bill was passed as a way to pay for the repair of the California road way systems, bridges, culverts, highways and pavement.
Tuesday some voters felt they should have had a say in the decision made by legislators last year, “I think we need voter approval, I think the little guy should have a say so," California Taxpayer Mildred Ingram said.
California state law doesn't require voter approval to pass a tax increase but now those opposed to the gas tax are behind Proposition 6. If passed, prop 6 would reverse last year's gas tax, vehicle fee increase and it would require voter approval for any future gas or vehicle taxation. However, if it does not pass and voters say no on pop 6 then you will still be paying more to gas up your car and future voting on similar tax measures will not be required.
In November of 2017 the average cost for one gallon of gas in Bakersfield was $3.14 and now the average cost in Bakersfield is $3.79 per gallon according to Triple A. Voters Tuesday shared mixed reviews on the current gas tax,"On prop 6 I think we ought to votes yes, roll it back make it harder to increase gas taxes in the future," Ingram said. "I'm going to vote no on prop 6 to keep the current gas tax to be able to fix current infrastructure on the roads and highways we gotta have funds coming from somewhere and since I’m driving on the roads I'm willing to pay a bit of extra money on my gas to be able to have all of those fixes," California Taxpayer David Collins.
According to Caltrans senate bill one has contributed funding towards 23 projects in Kern County concerning roadways, culverts, pavement, bridges and traffic management systems that help combat congestion. The total cost of completed and non-completed projects amounts to more than $274 million dollars just in Kern County, impacting highways 168, 58, 99 and the 5.
Some taxpayers said they are seeing their investment along their daily route, "But I’ve been seeing all kinds of improvements on the freeway so not here on California Avenue but I’m seeing everything on the 99 the I-5 a lot of the places that I drive," Collins said.
While others are not, “I don't believe it's going to go to the roadways as for fixing and for the bridges you know we got a lot of bridges especially here in Kern County that need to be repaired really bad," California Taxpayer Jamie Baeza said.
Caltrans said they do their best to find alternate ways to fund these projects before pulling from senate bill one funding in order to stretch tax dollars further. Right now completed projects in Kern County alone amount $7.6 million dollars and senate bill one has contributed to all of the completed ones thus far.