BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — This November, California voters will decide the fate of Proposition 30, a measure that would increase income tax on the wealthy in order to fund electric vehicle infrastructure and wildfire prevention.

Prop 30 aims to impose a 1.75% personal income tax on Californians making more than $2 million per year. Prop 30 would then allocate the increased tax funds as follows:

  • 45 percent for rebates and other incentives for zero-emission vehicle purchases
  • 35 percent for charging stations for zero-emission vehicles, half of this funding would be directed to low-income households and communities
  • 20 percent for wildfire prevention and suppression programs, prioritizing hiring and training firefighters

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Prop 30’s additional tax would raise between $3.5 billion and $5 billion annually. The additional tax would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023 and sunset by Jan. 2043.

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has said that he’s not exactly thrilled with the climate change-friendly measure.

Newsom appeared in an ad calling the bill a ‘Trojan horse’ and said he sees this as a way for taxpayers to subsidize the costs Lyft might rack up as it tries to meet the states electric vehicle mandate.

Supporters of the measure are the California Democratic Party, the American Lung Association and California Environmental Voters.

Democratic political analyst Neel Sannappa said Prop 30 is essential to move California forward.

“The need for more and more EV stations and work to strengthen our electrical grid and make it more safe to decrease wild fires is needed,” Sannappa said. “It will also help middle-class families transition to zero-emission vehicles. Prop 30 would create jobs up and down the state as well, that’s why International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers supports the Prop as well.”

Rideshare fleets are required to be zero emission by 2030 and, in a statement, Newsom said, “Prop 30 is a special interest carve-out–a cynical scheme devised by a single corporation to funnel state income tax revenue to their company.”

Opponents to the measure say that, while there is no definitive proof, Lyft wrote the bill. But, Prop 30 is a heavily sponsored by Lyft, having already contributed more than $35 million. The company claims they are doing this because they want to incentivize electric vehicle usage. The climate-conscious company aligns with California’s climate interests while being corporate citizens.

Notably missing from the discussion is Uber, another widely popular rideshare company. It has not publicly announced its stance on the controversial measure.

Republican political analyst Cathy Abernathy said Prop 30 is a clever response to Sacramento’s politically designed and extremely costly climate regulations.

She explains what is ‘brilliant’ about the initiative is how it is written. Abernathy adds, that is the reason Gov. Newsom and the California Teachers Union, who love to tax the ‘rich’, don’t like Prop 30. The tax dollars taken from this proposition are put into a separate fund and cannot be added to the general budget, said the political analyst.

Abernathy said sections (b1) and (c) of the measure further proof why Newsome and the CTA don’t like Prop 30, “Under Section 80203 (b1) of the Prop 30 measure, the fund is a special fund, permanently separate and apart form the General Fund or any other state fund or account. And in Section (c), moneys deposited into the fund and any interest earned shall not be permanently or temporarily borrowed, loaned or otherwise transferred to the General Fund or other fund in state treasury.”

Abernathy added that the tax dollars taken from “the rich” in this proposition are put into a separate fund and cannot be added to the general budget.

“Instead, let’s demand that the Governor and legislators repeal their latest climate change gimmick and not mandate that rideshare drivers buy expensive electric vehicles, which ultimately raise their costs, their rates to the users, and it all goes right back at our pocketbook,” Abernathy said.

Other groups opposing the proposition include the California Republican Party, California Small Business Association and California Teachers Association.