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Calif. Residents Fume that Newsom’s Gas Rebate Goes Only to Those Who Filed Taxes

'This sucks...'

(Pamela Cosel, Headline USA) California Gov. Gavin Newsom appears ready to make good on an earlier pledge to provide $400 rebates to automobile owners in order to help offset the state’s exhorbitant gas tax.

But the Democrat presidential hopeful’s plan has drawn criticism from both the Right and Left, with his GOP opponents questioning why they were taxed so heavily in the first place and party loyalists complaining that the rebate does not extend to those who never filed their taxes.

In May, Newsom revealed the state had a $97.5 billion budget surplus, leaving residents to wonder why high taxes have been so necessary, especially in times of inflation with soaring food and gas prices.

At more than $6 a gallon California boasts the highest average gas cost, by far, of any state.

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Yet, in 2021, California raised its motor fuel excise tax, putting it at 51 cents per gallon, plus 7 cents more in state fees.

The current cost at the pump even includes a mystery surcharge that residents have been paying since 2015, even though no current officials can account for its purpose.

To address the growing outrage, Newsom, who faces re-election this year after weathering a bruising 2021 recall effort, promised to return $400 to residents who have a vehicle registered in the state and filed California tax returns.

Residents will be mailed a debit card or get the funds via direct deposit.

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However, there’s a catch for senior citizens and disabled persons who make little money and are not required to file state tax returns.

People who earn less than $19,310 and who do not have a child living at home or another person dependent on them do not have to file a state tax return.

Thus, while they may own a registered vehicle and pay taxes on purchased goods, including gasoline, they will not be getting the $400 tax rebate.

Newsom reportedly hasn’t figured out how to get them the money because “nobody could figure out how to administer such payments,” the Eureka Times–Standard reported.

The poverty rate for those who don’t have to file a state tax return is 60%, as estimated by the Public Policy Institute of California in 2019.

H.D. Palmer from the state’s Department of Finance said the Legislature wanted to create a program to get such payments to those who don’t file taxes, but that idea failed in negotiations with Newsom and his staff, according to the Times–Standard.

“This sucks,” said one California resident, age 81.

“It’s arranged so that the poorest, neediest people don’t get it,” said Brooke Hamlin, who lives on Social Security retirement money of less than $20,000 per year, including food stamps and Meals on Wheels.

In addition, to the gas rebates, some of that budget surplus money—to the tune of billions of dollars—will be given to illegal residents to cover free healthcare for them, which Newsom announced last week.

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