Taxes to fund climate change initiatives

  • Proposition 30 would raise personal income taxes to create a fund for clean cars and clean air.
  • Proponents say the measure will help reduce greenhouse gases and clean California’s air.
  • Opponents say it is a ploy by ride-sharing companies to avoid paying for their electric vehicle transition.

A “yes” to California’s Proposition 30 will raise personal income taxes for high-income residents to fund incentives for electric vehicles, expand access to charging stations and fund training more firefighters during California’s increasingly tumultuous wildfire seasons.

Ballot Details

Proposition 30 would raise personal income tax by 1.75% for those earning more than $2 million a year to create a clean cars and clean air fund separate from the general fund of the State.

The text of the proposal says the fund’s main purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from two of the state’s biggest contributors – transportation and wildfires. The Office of the State Legislative Analyst estimates an increase of $3.5 billion to $5 billion per year in funding for climate change initiatives.

Most of the money from the fund would go to help individuals, businesses and governments buy zero-emission vehicles, while the rest would go towards building more charging stations across the state and forest fire preparedness and response, with an emphasis on training and hiring. firefighters.

The tax increase would take effect in January 2023 and end in 20 years — or when the state reduces greenhouse gas levels to 80% below 1990 levels for three consecutive calendar years, according to the bureau. of the state analyst.

Support and Opposition

Yes out of 30 includes a coalition of environmental and health groups, the California Democratic Party and ride-sharing company Lyft.

Proponents argue that a measure like this is needed to help clean California’s air — especially in low-income communities — and divest from fossil fuels to fight climate change. They also say the move will make it easier for low-income Californians to access electric vehicles by partially paying for new vehicle purchases.

No of 30 includes Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Republican Party, the California Teacher’s Association, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Hawaii State Conference NAACP.

Opponents say the ballot is a self-interest measure that will benefit ride-sharing companies such as Lyft, which are now required by the California Air Resources Board to ensure 90% of their vehicle miles are electric by 2030.

The rule did not specify who should cover the costs of this transition. Companies such as Lyft and Uber called on the state to provide drivers with subsidies to purchase new electric vehicles while activists called on ride-sharing companies to shoulder the burden, CalMatters reported in 2021.

The state also argues that the tax will take money out of the state’s general fund, used to spend everything from education to health care.

Proponents, however, deny the funds would specifically benefit Lyft.

The race for money

According to Ballotpedia, more than $37.1 million was donated in support of the measure, while more than $12 million was donated in opposition.

According to OpenSecrets, the main financial contributors for or against the proposal are Lyft, a coalition of ride-sharing companies, and labor and environmental groups.

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