Proposition 30 was rejected by 59.1% of the voters Nov. 8, although polls projected that it would be a close vote earlier in the day.
The measure would have added a 1.75% tax on annual personal income above $2 million to raise $3-$5 billion a year to advance the electrification of transportation and reduce wildfire dangers. At least half of the money would have been directed at improving air quality in heavily polluted areas and or low-income communities.
The Climate Center Energy Program Manager Woody Hastings, a Prop. 30 supporter, warned that the transportation sector continues to be California’s biggest source of climate pollution and that it’s crucial “to make clean vehicles and charging more accessible to people across the state to have any chance of a climate-safe future.” He added that climate and clean air advocates will continue working to accelerate “equitable climate solutions that protect our communities—and we will keep fighting to make sure billionaires pay their fair share.”
The new tax would have been in effect 20 years, from 2023 to until 2043, helping offset the high cost of EVs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned against the measure, while former Senator Fran Pavley and other clean air advocates supported it. Pavley authored the Clean Cars Act and other key state climate protection laws.
The day before the election, the Coalition for Clean Air charged that very wealthy individuals were “funding a grossly deceptive advertising campaign.” In response, the Yes on Prop. 30 campaign said it was going to file a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission for the “election-eve dirty trick.” In mid-August, a Sacramento Superior Court Judge sided with Prop. 30 proponents that the No campaign had made misleading statements in the ballot arguments.
Most of the new money from the tax increase—80%—would have subsidized the purchase of private and public electric vehicles—cars, vans, buses and trucks—and the needed charging stations. Of the total funds, 45% would have gone to EV purchases and 35% to charging stations, helping lower the costs, according to the State’s Legislative Analyst’s Office. The remaining 20% of the annual funds were to increase the number of firefighters and pay for other measures to reduce wildfire risks.