California Proposition 30: What to know about measure to fund clean air and wildfire programs

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ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
CA Prop 30: Will it tax the wealthy to help the environment?
Taxing the wealthy to help the environment? That's the claim behind California's Prop 30, but is that really what would happen? Here's what you need to know.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California's wealthiest residents won't see a tax increase after voters rejected a measure Tuesday that would have boosted rates on incomes above $2 million to help put more electric cars on the roads, according to the Associated Press.

Proposition 30s defeat marks a win for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who campaigned against it despite his administration's moves to ban the sale of most new gas-powered cars next decade.

He branded it a taxpayer-funded giveaway to rideshare companies, which under California regulations must ensure nearly all trips booked through their services are zero-emission by 2030. The rideshare company Lyft supplied most of the "yes" campaign's funding.

This is a breaking news topper. Original story follows below.

Taxing the wealthy to help the environment? That's the claim behind California's Proposition 30, a measure to fund wildfire management and electric vehicle infrastructure. But would that really happen?

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Here's what you need to know about the measure:

What is Prop 30?

The measure would increase the income tax on people making more than $2 million a year by 1.75% in order to fund programs that would help people buy more electric vehicles and make improvements to state firefighting and wildfire prevention.

Why are we voting on this now?

Back in 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the ambitious climate goal of banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

But making that goal a reality is going to require major investment into electric vehicles.

Supporters of this bill say it would help California move to clean energy and to help hit that ambitious climate goal.

But some opponents say the tax is too limiting in its scope. They also argue it's a ploy by rideshare company Lyft to get taxpayers to get taxpayers to help them meet their state mandate to electrify their vehicle fleet. Lyft has poured several millions of dollars into Prop 30.

But supporters say the proposition is backed by climate activists and not just one corporation. They argue many of the people against the prop are millionaires and billionaires who would be impacted by the tax.

VIDEO: How attainable are CA's zero-emission transportation goals?

By 2035, sales of all new passenger vehicles in California must be zero-emission. We dove deep into what the state must do to cross the finish line.

Does Newsom have an opinion?

Surprisingly to some, the governor is against the measure, which aligns him with the California Republican party, his political rivals.

In an ad he created, opposing the measure, he said, "Fellow Californians, I need to warn you about Proposition 30, one company's cynical scheme to grab a huge a huge taxpayer-funded subsidy. Don't be fooled, Prop. 30's being advertised as a climate initiative. But in reality it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company."

Who is supporting the prop?

Lyft, several major labor unions including the CA Association of Electrical workers and Cal Fire Local 2881, and the California Democratic Party. Several Democratic leaders across the state are also supporting the proposition, including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Bay Area Congressman Ro Khanna and Bay Area Assemblymembers Matt Haney and Buffy Wicks.

Who is against the prop?

Gov. Newsom, the California Republican Party, the California Teachers Association, and several other business groups including California Small Business Association. Some of the biggest donors to the "no" campaign include billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz, who has given $1 million to fight the prop; and San Francisco real estate investor Bob Emery, who has given nearly half a million dollars. Mark Heising, a major Democratic donor, also donated half a million dollars to fight the measure.

What about the Democrat and Republican parties?

The California Democratic Party is in favor of the measure. The California Republican Party is against the measure.

What happens if the proposition passes?

Wealthier Californians would face additional taxes on their income. Eligible Californians could eventually receive subsidies to purchase electric vehicles.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the 2022 Midterm Elections here.