California breathes some of the most toxic air in the world, the hazards of which are disproportionately shouldered by women, children, seniors, and low-income communities. Hosting a third of the country’s wildfires, a record-breaking climate-fueled heat wave, and the meanest gas prices in the country, California is in desperate need of infrastructure capable of supporting clean transportation to combat the climate catastrophe.
Proposition 30, the California Clean Air Initiative, mitigates the state’s greatest contribution to and consequence of the climate crisis — the transportation sector and wildfires, respectively — by investing $100 BILLION over 20 years in its mission to:
- Fight and prevent extreme wildfires
- Provide charging infrastructure for electric (EVs) and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)
- Provide subsidies to help consumers and organizations afford clean vehicles
- Create regular audits by the State Auditor and State Controller to ensure transparency and accountability
Prop 30 has the power to fundamentally transform California’s Air Quality Index. This initiative is actually LIFE-SAVING; the American Lung Association projects that transitioning to zero-emission transportation and power generation will reduce air pollution enough to prevent the following in California from now through 2050:
- 15,300 premature deaths
- 440,000 asthma attacks
- 2.16 million lost work days
- $169 billion in public health costs
California is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, with rising temperatures, catastrophic wildfires, relentless drought, and toxic air pollution. We need sustained, generational investment to meet this moment. And the Prop 30 coalition has come together to restore our clean air and curb climate change.
Prop 30 centers equity in both its funding source and allocation, increasing taxes by 1.75% ONLY for those 0.1% of Californians with a personal income over $2 million.
Half of the $35 billion allocated for EV subsidies and charging infrastructure are reserved for low-income and disadvantaged communities, referring to those with incomes at or below 80% of the statewide median, in the form of:
- Zero-emission school buses and zero-emission transit buses
- Incentives for government and businesses to agricultural and construction EVs
- Financing assistance and incentives to help those without access to capital or credit acquire new and used EVs
- Help for people to retire old polluting vehicles and replace them with new and used EVs
- Help for agricultural workers and others to utilize zero-emission vanpools
- Subsidies for the purchase of electric bikes or transit passes, supporting bike lanes, and equitable access to bike sharing
$20 billion of the budget is allocated toward extreme wildfire suppression, prevention, and resilience such as:
- Hiring and training more permanent and seasonal state firefighters and purchasing more firefighting equipment
- Establishing more forest and vegetation management, watershed restoration, and similar programs
- Creating grants for home-hardening, improving defensible spaces around homes and communities
The final $45 billion is allocated to the California Air Resources Board for subsidies to help individuals, organizations, and local governments afford clean vehicles.
Prop 30 Myths
MYTH: Electric vehicles will strain the electric grid and cause blackouts.
FACT: EVs use a negligible percent of the total energy produced in the U.S. California can currently support up to 5 million electric vehicles with only 1 million on the road, and our electricity supply only increases as EV adoption grows, with nearly an additional 30 gigawatts expected by the end of this year.
MYTH: Electric vehicles will hike up electricity prices.
FACT: The majority of those charging their EVs do so when demand on the electricity grid is lower and rates are less expensive, in the early morning and past 8 p.m. Charging stations have set up time-of-use rates to encourage EV motorists to charge their vehicles at non-peak hours, minimizing demand on the grid during peak hours.
Last month, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a ruling that the No on 30 campaign made false or misleading statements in their ballot argument regarding its burden on the electric grid and its impact on electric bills.
MYTH: Prop 30 is a special interest carve-out.
FACT: As of August 2022, Lyft contributed $15 million of the $15.6 million to the initiative campaign. Gov. Gavin Newsom opposed Prop 30, calling it “a special interest carve-out.” However, rebates are issued to those who drive for Transportation Network Companies like Lyft, not the companies themselves.
MYTH: Prop 30 will encourage millionaires to flee the state.
FACT: The largest cause of emigration from California is the cost of housing. Those leaving are more likely to be lower income than those moving in. In fact, the state’s millionaire population has grown by 50% in the last decade.
MYTH: California’s $100 billion surplus means we don’t need to raise taxes to collect funding for Prop 30.
FACT: The only way this surplus can hold a light to the California Clean Air Initiative is by allocating its entirety to accelerating an equitable transition to zero-emission vehicles and improving extreme wildfire resilience. However, the law demands half the surplus be spent on education. Governor Newsom intends to use the other half on one-time spending, including financial relief for those hit by inflation and combating COVID-19.
Prop 30 is the only way we can hold our government accountable for a $100 billion allocation to the clean air battleground.
The bottom line is that Prop 30 is a very targeted tax on only those who can afford it to fund critical programs that will bolster the health and welfare of all Californians. We need Prop 30 to reach our emission reduction goals and maintain our leadership in the fight to solve the climate crisis, provoking the rest of the country to follow our lead.