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Some Californians left out of gas tax relief

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 22:36:36-04

California residents are beginning to receive inflation relief money from the state this week.

Known as the Middle Class Tax Refund, the payments, starting at $200, are intended to provide Californians with some financial relief amid the high cost of gas and inflation.

But some people won't be receiving the money.

Veteran Wayne Jefferson of Santa Maria says he is not expecting to receive a stimulus check because he wasn’t required to file taxes in 2021 based on his income.

"I don't have any other source of income, so we're not required to have to file income tax," Jefferson said.

Because he receives veterans compensation and didn't file taxes, he does not qualify for the gas tax relief.

"We don't qualify for it," he said. "If in fact, yes, that would be because we didn't pass out income tax last year."

While Jefferson searches for ways to access the check, it continues to be a dead end.

"It's wrong for us not to be treated like all of California," Jefferson said. "We still have to pay the same prices, our gas, mortgage, and everything else."

Those who filed taxes are looking forward to the money.

"As a collective, I believe that it's actually paramount for us to all receive what we are entitled to," said Joseph Villarreal, San Luis Obispo resident. "It’s going to help me with my funds. I'm getting my new apartment all paid off, so I'm definitely looking forward to that new check."

"I could use the money and I'm all for it," said Brian Benn, Santa Rosa resident.

The one common concern is when the checks will arrive.

"I'll just kind of keep checking my direct deposit and see if it shows up, but I'm not even sure yet," Benn said.

"It was totally unbeknownst to me that it was coming so soon," Villarreal added.

But some people say they don't believe the checks are needed.

"I think they're just a result of greed," said Jason Cobleigh, Sacramento resident.

Cobleigh says he believes the current financial crisis won’t improve just because of these checks.

"In my belief, the $100 bill is like the new $20 right now, so it's not going to help very much," Cobleigh said. "It'll help some who really need it. But for most people who are just getting by day by day, a couple of hundred bucks is just going to fill the tank, maybe."

According to CalMatters, many seniors and disabled people will miss out on the new payments.

About three million Californians earn little enough that they aren’t required to file taxes.

The official qualifications are that you must have filed your 2020 income tax, make less than $500,000 a year, and have been a California resident for at least six months in 2020.