I’m a farm worker rights activist, and founder and board member for Pick Justice and California Farm Workers & Families – which means I work on behalf of the thousands of agricultural workers that harvest the food which comes to your table every night. My family and I are fortunate to play such a vital role in our state economy and to the communities we serve. It’s not an easy lifestyle and we sacrifice like most working families to provide our kids with a better future.

That’s why I don’t understand when Sacramento politicians passed SB 1, the punitive gas and car tax during the last legislative session. It jacked up the gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, the diesel tax – frequently used on farms – an even higher 20 cents a gallon and the vehicle license fee by as much as $175 a year. In fact, my truck’s DMV annual registration fee almost doubled this year. The total looted in by the state would be $5.2 billion a year.

The SB 1 vehicle tax especially punishes those of us living in rural areas. We have to drive long distances just to do our jobs. And the higher gas tax will be passed on to the agricultural products we farm, meaning everyone will have to pay more for the food in the grocery aisles. The cost of the tax increase for most Californians averages $700 a year, but for many rural citizens it comes to many thousands of dollars, enough to kill small business and threaten our jobs.

Which really begs the question: why weren’t Californians given a vote on the tax increase? Governor Jerry Brown and Big Business groups have done everything they can to take away our voice. Running for governor in 2010, Brown gave his solemn promise of “no new taxes without voter approval.” He broke it by signing SB 1. He should be backing our democratic right by supporting Prop. 6 – not opposing it. Give us a voice!

Yes, our roads are in terrible shape. We in the farming communities know that most of all, as we drive our products to market across thousands of potholes. But the money already is there to fix them. Unfortunately, Governor Brown and Big Business groups are misleading the public by claiming there is no money to fix our bridges and roads unless taxes are raised.

Consider these facts:

The Sacramento politicians need to learn a lesson: come to voters first if you want to raise taxes. Lay out your reasons. Forget the special interests and instead convince Californians.

I call on Governor Brown and Big Business to end their opposition to Prop. 6 and lock arms with working families in supporting the repeal of the punishing SB 1 gas tax.

The job you save may be your own. This November 6, 2018 vote Yes on Prop 6 to repeal the gas tax.

About the author:
Jesse Rojas is a farm worker rights activist, spokesperson for Pick Justice, and founder of California Farm Workers & Families PAC. Rojas is a tireless advocate for liberty and civil rights, and often provides news commentary on issues such as entrepreneurship, labor relations, and politics. Rojas also launched Mi America En La Radio, the first conservative Spanish-language radio show in the Central Valley. As CEO of The Redd Group, LLC, his organization offers labor relations, human resources consulting, public relations and political consulting.