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Coalition Calls on Calif. Governor Brown to Invest Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds into Emissions-Reducing Projects

Group is asking Governor to repay $500 million loan to the general fund.

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Ahead of California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal in January, a group representing California businesses, local government, health, transportation, economic justice and the environment held a news conference today during which they called on Brown to place into the forthcoming budget $500 million for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund was set to receive $500 million from proceeds resulting from California’s cap and trade auctions. This past May, however, Brown and the state legislature agreed to move the money to the state’s general fund to balance the state budget instead. 

Now, following reports from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office that the state should enjoy a budget surplus next year, the group is reiterating the requests for funding it made in an October 31 letter to Governor Brown.

“To date the state has collected $530 million in cap and trade auction proceeds and now has the unenviable task of choosing worthy investment options,” said Susan Frank, Director of the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy. “But the law requires these proceeds to be invested specifically and narrowly in projects that further the goals of AB32.”

Assembly Bill 32, or the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, is the landmark climate change bill signed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“The challenge of reducing pollution also presents an incredible opportunity to rebuild California’s communities in a clean, smart and comfortable way,” said Cara Martinson, a legislative advocate for the California State Association of Counties. “Auction proceeds can be invested in shovel-ready projects that can benefit our communities.”

During the news conference most members of the group took care not to put themselves at odds with the Governor, instead suggesting that local governments would welcome the investment of auction revenues in projects that would help create jobs while making “communities more livable, more walkable and generally more sustainable.” But Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air, took a more direct tack.

“Governor Brown has actually talked a lot about the urgency of addressing climate change and we agree with him on that – now we need him to put our money where his mouth is,” Magavern said. “The Governor has emphasized the importance of paying down the state’s wall of debt. We think he should start by repaying the debt the general fund now owes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.”

Governor Brown will offer his proposed budget next month when he delivers his annual State of the State address.




Chad Vander Veen is a former contributing editor for Emergency Management magazine, and previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.