Cali’s Climate Change Budget Cuts Show Programs Are More About Politics Than Cutting Emissions

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Sobered by the reality of a budget deficit, the governor has proposed cutting money for climate programs. It was surely a hard choice, but practical. Something has to go and there’s no better place to show spending discipline than by holding back funds dedicated to a political fantasy.

After years of producing surpluses, including a record $97 billion overcharge to taxpayers last year, California’s volatile income tax system has spit out a deficit. By relying on a progressive tax regime that’s overly dependent on capital gains taxes, revenues in California are whipsawed by boom-and-bust cycles, requiring lawmakers to make uncomfortable decisions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration ​​projects a $22.5-billion deficit for 2023-24 and proposes roughly $297 billion in total spending. It was entirely expected. The fiscal outlook published in November by the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicted “the Legislature would face a budget problem” – a deficit – “of $24 billion in 2023-24,” with more to follow.

The governor’s response, however, was not expected. Who would have thought he’d cut the state’s cherished climate programs, including “investments” in zero-emissions vehicles, by $6 billion?

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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