Clean air, labor advocates address claims by GOP opposition to measure that would provide billions for zero-emission vehicles, firefighting

With wildfires, poor air quality and record heat plaguing California, the state’s top environmental and labor leaders as well as a leading economist held a “fact check” media briefing to discuss the origin and benefits of Proposition 30. Even with nearly universal appeal from environmentalists and clear air quality benefits for millions of Californians of all incomes, Proposition 30 faces misinformation campaigns funded by billionaires, which are fueling confusion and outright falsehoods.

To address the opposition and educate voters, a “truth squad” of key leaders hosted a virtual press briefing providing key facts about the measure and addressing critical questions on Tuesday, September 27.

Speaking in support of the measure were: Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air; Denny Zane, Policy Director, Move LA; Brad Williams, Former Chief Economist, California Assembly; Gretchen Newsom, California State Political Coordinator, IBEW; and Ana Gonzales, Executive Director, CCAEJ.

Proposition 30 is the climate action ballot initiative that will help millions of Californians afford electric vehicles, create a statewide EV charging network and reduce catastrophic wildfires by funding forest management, more firefighters and firefighting equipment. The measure generates approximately $100 billion over 20 years for these critical programs by taxing only those who can most afford it — Californians with personal income over $2 million per year.

Last month, the California Air Resources Board approved a measure requiring all new cars and light trucks sold in the state by 2035 to be zero-emission vehicles. The measure will jumpstart the statewide transition to clean vehicles by making zero-emission vehicles more affordable through rebates, grants and financial assistance. Half of the funding will benefit low-income families and those in disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

In addition, Proposition 30, which is backed by CalFire State Firefighters Local 2881, invests nearly $1 billion per year in the prevention and control of wildfires. It includes funding to hire more state firefighters, support forest resilience programs, and improve fire safety infrastructure.

“Prop 30 was written by an environmental/labor/business alliance that came together to address a public health crisis,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air. “We got together for one reason: California has the worst air pollution in the United States, and some of the worst in the world. There’s a reason the opposition has yet to be able to point to a single special benefit to Lyft or any other interest: because there is no special benefit to Lyft or any other interest.”

“There’s also this myth that Prop 30 is just for cars,” added Denny Zane, Policy Director for Move LA. “That’s simply not true: 35 percent of the funds go to installing a network of charging infrastructure across the state. 20 percent goes to preventing wildfires. And of the funding that does go to vehicles, more than half will go to clean medium- and heavy-duty vehicles: semi-trucks, transit buses, school buses, farm equipment — vehicles that have nothing to do with rideshare.”

Economist Brad Williams addressed financing concerns, saying, “I served 32 years in state government, including 15 years as director of budget overview in the legislative analyst office. It is baffling to me that the opposition continues to claim that Prop 30 is ‘a corporate money grab disguised as a climate initiative.’ I have seen plenty of money grabs. The fact is that none of the money goes to anyone funding this initiative; it directs all its funding to state agencies and CalFire firefighters, while asking nothing of anyone other than the wealthiest .2 percent of Californians.”

Proposition 30 is endorsed by a broad coalition of health, labor, business, environmental and firefighting groups. Supporters include the American Lung Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the California Democratic Party, and the State Building and Construction Trades of California.

For additional background on ballot initiative, visit www.yeson30.org.