→ Would increase personal income taxes by 1.75% on personal incomes of over $2 million in order to fund electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure (such as charging stations and vehicle purchase rebates) and wildfire prevention.
It’s become undeniably clear that climate change poses a real and existential threat to our world, our way of life, and our very being. We’ve all been directly touched by the effects of climate change in ways big and small—from extreme weather and worsening air quality, to environmental disasters and lasting health effects. Not only is it important that California lead the way on climate solutions, it might be the only way that it will happen. Given the collective global threat that we’re all facing, we admire the intent and purpose behind Prop 30, but we cannot support it.
Prop 30 argues that having more electric vehicles on the roads, as well as having a more robust EV infrastructure, will lead to less gas pollution, which would then alleviate the burden and threat posed by fossil fuels. But that doesn’t fully capture or take into account the real world ramifications and effect on low-income Californians.
One largely-touted aspect of Prop 30 is that 45% of the new funding would go towards rebates and other incentives for zero-emission vehicle purchases. But while middle class consumers will almost certainly benefit from, and take advantage of, these rebate offers, it’s a prospect that seems largely out of reach for low-wage earners.
Another 35% of the funding would go to charging stations for zero-emission vehicles, with at least half of this allocation directed apparently to low-income communities. This conjures a scenario in which the very communities that cannot afford electric vehicles become inundated with charging stations they cannot use. This kind of infrastructure development without community involvement invokes the same concerns surrounding gentrification. And it raises questions: Will more charging stations mean more parking restrictions for the rest of us? Will our public streets become corridors of convenience for the privileged and the entitled? The best intentions cannot safeguard against unintended consequences, and this is especially true when there’s limited input from impacted communities.
And then there’s Lyft… Lyft, the self-interested, labor-exploiting corporation that’s spending upwards of $15 million dollars to pass Prop 30. The same Lyft that similarly spent big two years ago in order to influence voters, ensuring the passage of Prop 22, which disenfranchised rideshare employees and undermined labor protections.
If Lyft is supporting this measure, one thing can be clear—it’s not doing it out of the goodness of its Silicon Valley heart. Lyft obviously has something to gain here. And you don’t have to dig too deep to figure out what that something is: under state law, Lyft is required to increase its share of electric cars for 90% of the miles their drivers travel by 2030. With this mandate hanging over their heads, it’s obvious how Lyft could benefit from a larger EV infrastructure, plus a larger pool of rebate money. And even better if public taxes pays for it all. Lyft bought an election two years ago, and they shouldn’t get away with doing it yet again.
At ACCE, we continue to find alignment and allyship with the pro-climate goals championed by organizations like EnviroVoters, as well as the other environmental justice groups in support of Prop 30. But on this tactic, and on this corporate-funded proposition, we must diverge and reluctantly offer our position of No on Prop 30.