Sunday, March 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Top Democratic lawmaker backs off ‘carbon tax’

By
From page A2 | April 15, 2014 |

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state Senate leader on Monday backed off an unpopular proposal for a so-called carbon tax on consumer fuels and instead wants to dedicate billions of dollars generated by California’s greenhouse gas reduction law to affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed rail.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his willingness to pivot from a higher tax on gasoline, propane and other consumer fuels was driven by the need to fund environmentally friendly infrastructure projects while helping low-income Californians with housing. The Sacramento Democrat also threw his support behind Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to help finance the $68 billion bullet train with money from the cap-and-trade fund that was established as part of the greenhouse gas law.

“I am a quick learner,” Steinberg said at a Capitol news conference surrounded by transit, housing and environmental advocates. “Unlike the last time, I am thrilled to stand with a broad coalition.”

Steinberg released his initial proposal in February. It was quickly trounced as a direct hit to Californians even though the current cap-and-trade revenue system is expected to expand next year in a way that could raise the price of gasoline and other fuels. Steinberg said that could produce volatility for consumers and proposed his flat tax on fuels as an alternative.

He is now proposing to use revenue from greenhouse gas emission fees paid by industry as a source of funding for affordable housing and mass transit projects. He also wants the money going toward environmental improvements that include adding bicycle lanes and water efficiency projects.

Steinberg was initially concerned about how Brown’s budget would use cap-and-trade revenue for the bullet train. But on Monday he said funding the beleaguered transit project fits nicely with the state’s effort to promote clean infrastructure.

“I think it’s visionary. I think it’s a major job-creator, and I think future generations will be glad that we withstood the controversy,” Steinberg said.

Jim Evans, a spokesman for Brown, said the governor’s office doesn’t comment on pending legislation but “looks forward to working with the Legislature on an overall cap-and-trade funding plan.”

The Brown administration wants to spend a total of $850 million on transportation, energy efficiency and water projects in the next budget year under provisions of California’s 2006 greenhouse gas emissions law, known as AB32. Within that, Brown wants to direct $250 million to the high-speed rail project from the cap-and-trade fund, which raises money from California industries in a sort of emissions marketplace that is designed to reduce air pollution.

Steinberg, however, said California is expected to receive a windfall of up to $5 billion a year. He would rather see the state adopt a long-term spending plan.

The cap-and-trade program currently applies only to industrial plants and allows companies with higher emissions of greenhouse gases to buy pollution credits from companies that have found a way to lower their emissions below a certain threshold.

But next year, consumers will start to see the impact as the program is extended to the producers of carbon-based consumer fuels, which will raise prices at the pump by an uncertain level.

Republicans were pleased to see Steinberg backing off an estimated 15-cents-a-gallon carbon tax on fuel starting next year. They said they look forward to discussing California’s long-term infrastructure needs.

“Glad that the pro tem wisely backed away from a gas tax that would have unfairly punished lower-income working families,” said Peter DeMarco, a spokesman for Senate Republicans.

But DeMarco said the decision to “double down on high speed rail is a losing proposition.” The Legislative Analyst’s Office has said it is legally risky to link the bullet train to the cap-and-trade fund.

Under Steinberg’s latest plan, about 40 percent of the cap-and-trade fund would go toward affordable housing projects, 30 percent to transit, 20 percent to high-speed rail, and the remaining amount to other environmental and climate projects. He also wants a requirement that 25 percent of funding go toward disadvantaged communities.

“My larger concern then and now is the economic impact on low- and moderate-income people, and preserving and strengthening our essential climate goals,” Steinberg said.

Speaker-elect Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said she looks forward to discussing the proposal with her colleagues in the Assembly as they formulate their budget priorities.

“Addressing climate change, finding a new source of funding for affordable housing, and encouraging mass transit are all key goals for our state,” Atkins said in a statement.

————

By Judy Lin

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

 
Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Davis sewage to get new digs

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Where do Davis recyclables go?

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
Friends search for shooting victim’s lost pets

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

 
‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Friendship the topic on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
.

Forum

These results were meaningless

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Survey not representative

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Answers on the green waste program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
A phone call could have fixed this

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

Milt Prigee cartoon

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Some ‘survey’ …

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

Universities need more funding

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

 
Take a hike for your heart

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

.

Sports

Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie softball splits doubleheader

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
UCD women’s tennis dominates at home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Millennials are changing our community

By Rob White | From Page: A9

 
With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8