Amid the flurry of local and state ballot initiatives Californians will be voting on next month, we’re here to highlight two that have tremendous implications for our clean energy future:
Funded by out-of-state oil companies, Proposition 23 would suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas law – AB 32. As if that’s not bad enough, Prop 23 isn’t just about cap-and-trade. A number of California’s clean energy policies, including our 33% renewable energy requirement and low carbon fuel standard, are wrapped into the state regulator’s AB 32 authority. If Prop 23 passes, that whole suite of clean economy policies are at risk too.
Although it has received just a fraction of the attention of its Prop 23 compadre, Prop 26 (also backed by big oil, along with big alcohol & big tobacco) could be just as detrimental to green economic growth. Prop 26 seeks to redefine a number of “fees” that currently fund most of our environmental and public health initiatives as “taxes.” That’s not just semantics. Fees can be passed by a simple majority vote, but taxes require two-thirds majority, a tall order for our decidedly log-jammed legislature. In the entirely likely case that the two-thirds vote can’t be reached, funding for these critical programs shifts from polluters (for example) to general taxpayers – or the programs are simply cut in these times of tight budgets. AB 32 is just one of many programs likely to be hurt if Prop 26 passes.
These environmental policies have helped make California the leader in clean tech innovation and business growth that we are today. Just last week we got two timely reminders of the economic opportunity that’s at stake here. The Solar Foundation released its national solar jobs census – California claimed the top position with 36,000 solar jobs, more than five times the number 2 state. SEIA’s Solar Works for America website helped put a face on those jobs. Then the same week, a whopping 32 California cleantech companies made the Cleantech Global 100 list of up-and-comers likely to make big near-term market impacts – an auspicious number, to be sure, and one that far outstrips any other state or country.
Prop 23 would put the state’s successful green policies on hold, and Prop 26 would undermine their funding. Both propositions pose a major risk to California’s growing clean energy economy. And neither are options that California can afford.
Here’s a great new ‘No on 23′ video if you want to learn more about the proposition’s impact on health, jobs, national security and the economy:
Every vote counts, so please get to the polls or mail in those ballots to VOTE NO.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.