BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET)– Tonight’s sales tax meeting is one of many leading up to the November election, urging Kern voters to approve the proposed one-cent sales tax.

The County Board of Supervisors last month voted to put a proposed sales tax increase on the November ballot. If approved by voters with a simple majority, the sales tax in unincorporated parts of the county would rise from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent.

“What this measure would do, it would actually establish about $54 million annually to our general fund,” Ally Soper, Kern County Chief Communications Officer, said. “That would all stay local. So not only would it be benefitting our public safety, but it would also be helping combat homelessness and make sure to stimulate job growth.”

Local leaders argue the county needs extra cash.

“I have the crime lab I have to fund, and employ people at the crime lab,” Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said.

“It’s shocking to know we have 125 vacant deputy positions. 125 detention deputies vacant,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said. “I have a jail sitting empty.”

This comes as inflation puts pressure on many people around the county, who are already squeezing to get by.

“It’s absurd, because California pays the highest taxes of all of the United States,” Marilyn Castro, an Oildale resident, said. “I don’t understand how they expect people to make it.”

Voters will pass or fail the measure on November 8.

County leaders plan to hold two workshops a week to drum up support for the sales tax. The next one is scheduled for Monday at the Kern River Veterans and Senior Building in Lake Isabella.