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Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies A Priority for California Leaders and Climate Budget

Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies A Priority for California Leaders and Climate Budget

Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies A Priority for California Leaders and Climate Budget

Once again, California is having trouble balancing its state budget. Governor Gavin Newsom, anticipating a $31.5 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year, has suggested slashing $6 billion from the unprecedented $54 billion climate budget enacted last summer, with the support of the state legislature.

According to a recent analysis from the World Bank, this is inexplicable given the state’s squandering of billions of dollars annually due to the government’s refusal to fix tax loopholes or end subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

These ridiculous regulations couldn’t come at a worse time. State lawmakers want to cut off funding that was intended to alleviate the worst effects of climate change, even as record profits flow into the major oil and gas businesses. Companies that produce a disproportionate quantity of pollution contributing to global warming should foot the bill, not the residents of California.

The climate budget would provide much-needed funds for California to invest in resilience measures as the state is pummeled by extreme weather exacerbated by climate change. Any reduction in these expenditures would pose an imminent threat to public safety.

Reducing corporate welfare for significant polluters is the preferable solution. With this “found money,” California will be able to continue funding initiatives that protect local communities and help the country make the switch from a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy.

The tweet below confirms the news:

Exposing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Newsom should first order his administration to determine how much money is being wasted on oil and gas subsidies and tax loopholes. The public is still in the dark about the full amount of the oil and gas industry’s alleged six tax perks and subsidies, which may or may not include mineral tax expenditures or offshore tax havens.

The governor has already received a letter signed by more than 50 environmental, environmental justice, and health organizations demanding the end of these subsidies.

The situation of Chevron is instructive since it is typical. In 2022, it was the third most profitable corporation headquartered in California, behind Apple and Google. When Newsom saw Chevron’s $35.5 billion profit for the year, he became an advocate for a price gouging penalty to curb the oil giant’s excessive earnings at the pump.

Chevron has been functioning freely despite a probe by the U.S. Senate in 2015 that revealed the company had hidden $31 billion in revenues among 13 offshore accounts to avoid paying additional taxes.

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Rather than continuing to subsidize businesses that willingly exploit the system, raise prices for consumers, and dump pollutants on Californians, why not do something else?

Instead of paying for the cleanup of other people’s garbage, California could invest in new renewable energy infrastructure and deal with the legacy fossil fuel systems that would be abandoned otherwise. New research estimates that cleaning up California’s oil well sites will cost up to $21.5 billion, and it cautions that the public may be on the hook for much of that amount under the rules as they stand.

For a firm to shirk responsibilities after earning $35.5 billion in a single year is unacceptable.

Newsom and the state legislature have a golden opportunity to hold polluters accountable by rethinking where the money will come from for the state budget. With a law that the governor can sign quickly, they can end all subsidies and tax breaks.

It’s not simple to cut costs. But defending the people and the environment of California by demanding the fossil fuel business pay its fair share should be.

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