You know a ballot measure is wrong when it manages to unite the California Teachers Association, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Republican Party. This is the story of Proposition 30. We join this chorus of opposition and encourage all Californians to reject Proposition 30.
The measure itself contains ideas that many Californians love — funding programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires — and a funding mechanism that many Californians won’t find particularly offensive — a tax hike on income over $2 million a year.
Proponents of the measure present many practical reasons for tackling air pollution and wildfires. Even someone in limited government can recognize the legitimate need to mitigate the harmful effects of air pollution on the health and well-being of millions of people. And certainly all Californians understand the need to take action to prevent wildfires. They endanger lives, destroy property and contribute significantly to pollution.
However, while proponents of this measure identify obvious problems, the solutions they propose, as advanced in this measure, are suspect.
The measure provides tax increases of $3.5 billion to $5 billion a year for high-income earners. This is the first problem. The state general fund budget in 2015-2016 was $115 billion. This year, the general fund budget exceeds $234 billion. The idea that higher taxes are needed to address air pollution and responses to wildfires is, on its face, absurd.
The purpose of this measure is therefore not simply to raise funds. It’s how the money is used.
The bulk of the revenue generated by this measure, 80%, would go to grants to help individuals, businesses and governments purchase zero-emission vehicles and fund the installation of zero-vehicle charging and refueling stations. emission. The reason is obvious when you realize that one of Proposition 30’s biggest sponsors is ride-sharing company Lyft.
The state of California has imposed a mandate on ride-sharing companies requiring ride-sharing companies to use a fleet of zero-emission vehicles. Lyft therefore obviously hopes that they can shift the cost burden of fulfilling this mandate to high-income Californians.
“Supporting .30 is a special interest exclusion — a cynical scheme devised by one corporation to funnel state tax revenue into their business,” Governor Newsom said bluntly in a recent statement.
Indeed, while it is perfectly rational for Lyft to support this measure, it does not necessarily make this policy good. Nor does it affirm the idea that the best way to reduce air pollution and encourage the transition to zero-emission vehicles is to impose another tax hike and spend 3.5 to 5 billion dollars a year in subsidies for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles.
California has the money to fight air pollution and wildfires in a more thoughtful and deliberate way than throwing billions at subsidies for zero-emission vehicles.
Proponents of Proposition 30 are smart. They hide behind legitimate issues and even tap into class envy. But this measure is a self-interest money grab, pure and simple.
Vote no on Proposition 30.