Followed by a three-year consecutive drought, California is heading into another year of extreme drought, this being the driest on record since 1896. Moreover, a report published in November 2022 by the California Environmental Protection Agency states that the Golden State has faced an “unprecedented” number of wildfires, as well as an increase in “extreme heat events” over the past decade. The report’s authors wrote that climate change has impacted every California resident and that it is “increasingly taking a toll on the health and well-being of its people and on its unique and diverse ecosystems.”
Transportation is the state’s largest source of planet-warming and health-damaging emissions by far. Thus, if our state leaders and communities are serious about making a dent in our efforts to address climate change we must transition to zero-emission vehicles and we must start now.
Proposition 30 – The Clean Cars and Clean Air Act – is a bold initiative that raises taxes on the wealthy to pay for electric vehicles and charging stations and seeks to generate roughly $100 billion over 20 years for these critical programs. These resources would fund strategies to fight and prevent wildfires; strengthen charging infrastructure for electric vehicles; and strive to make electric vehicles affordable to consumers. Prop. 30 also builds in transparency and accountability by establishing biennial audits by the State Auditor.
Opponents are more concerned with the feelings of the rich and are driving an old tactic based on fear that business would be leaving California if this proposition is enacted, instead of addressing the effects of climate change on underserved communities. Yes, California has the highest state income tax rate, yet our economy is thriving. For instance, Bloomberg released an analysis suggesting that California is on pace of becoming the fourth largest economy in the world. Our economy continues to face challenges but it is resilient through the pandemic, rise of inflation, and it is due in part to its people and key industries like renewable energy.
We are at a crossroads and we can’t rest on our laurels. Proposition 30 addresses the main factor that contributes to climate changes, it meets the urgency; and most importantly it is a bold statement of our values that we must protect our environment over the luxury and feelings of the wealthy.
Paid for by Yes on 30: Clean Air California, a Coalition of CalFire Firefighters, Working Families, Rideshare Companies, and Environmental Groups. Committee Major Funding from: Lyft, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Nicholas Josefowitz. Funding details at www.fppc.ca.gov.