Though it would appear that Proposition 30, which would tax the wealthy to fund the introduction of more electric vehicles, would be a certain winner with Democrats in a state recognized for its climate leadership, the state’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, is a vocal opponent of the plan. This has placed the Democratic governor at odds with his own party and with his environmentalist base.
Those with individual incomes above $2 million, or less than 43,000 persons, would be subject to an additional 1.75 percentage point tax under the proposal now before the electorate. Analysts in the state predict it would bring in up to $5 billion year, most of which would go toward funding initiatives to encourage the widespread adoption of electric cars and the installation of public charging infrastructure.
Proponents from the environmental and public health communities argue that California should set aside funds to hasten the switch away from gas-powered vehicles and aid in reducing emissions that contribute to global warming. Forty percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and devastating wildfires are also a big contributor.
Mary Creasman, CEO of the California Environmental Voters, stated, “We can’t reach our climate objectives without something like this.” Creasman said, “It’s either going to be everyone of us who pays, or the richest who can afford to pay.”
Lyft, the largest ride-hailing company in the world, has invested at least $45 million in supporting Proposition 30, which has been dubbed a “money grab” by Newsom. By 2030, state authorities have ordered that all ridesharing journeys must produce no emissions whatsoever. Uber is neutral on the proposal.
Not so fast, Prop. 30 is being portrayed as a climate program, but it was really crafted by a single firm to redirect state income taxes to benefit that corporation,” Newsom argues in one TV commercial.
However, proponents argue that Lyft’s involvement came after environmental organizations had already begun planning a ballot initiative, disproving the opponents’ characterisation. A key step, according to Creasman, is to “call our own team and governor out for lying.” “about where the standard was first implemented.
Even though Newsom is widely predicted to win reelection for a second term, the battle over Proposition 30 has become one of the most divisive issues for Democrats this election season. This comes after state air regulators approved a Newsom-backed plan to ban the sale of most new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035.
Half of the funds from Proposition 30’s electric vehicle fee would be allocated to an equity account to increase access to cleaner modes of transportation and reduce air pollution in low-income and disadvantaged communities. This money could be used to subsidize the purchase of electric cars or to introduce cleaner delivery trucks, buses, and even e-bikes.
Most of the state’s deadliest and most devastating wildfires have happened in the previous few years, and the state expects wildfires produced more than 85 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, which is more than the yearly emissions from electricity.
Lyft has stated its support of the legislation on the grounds that doing so would be conducive to sound climate policy.
As the company’s CEO, Logan Green said in a blog post, “Proposition 30 supports this by a tax on persons who make more than $2 million a year. I am fortunate enough to be touched by this tax and eager to pay it to help turn back the clock on this existential peril.”
The California Teachers Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and a few venture capitalists are opposing the legislation alongside Newsom “campaign.
The teachers unions oppose the levy because it would not satisfy a state budget law that mandates a specific amount of income be allocated to K-12 education. However, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has warned that the idea might lead to cuts elsewhere in the budget due to the application of strict budget standards, an assertion that is strongly contested by the measure’s proponents.
The initiative would raise California’s already-high personal income tax to over 15% for the wealthiest taxpayers, according to business advocacy organizations. The Newsom administration has disregarded the concerns of the California Chamber of Commerce’s foundation president, Loren Kaye, that the fast growth of electric cars might overburden the energy system.
The California Democratic Party, the Clean Air Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Lung Association have all come out in favor of Proposition 30, despite the fact that critics have said it is meant to help Lyft in particular.