SACRAMENTO Calif. October 29, 2012 - Sierra Club California, a branch of the oldest and largest environmental organization in the state, has taken a support position on Proposition 30.
Proposition 30 will temporarily—for seven years—increase the income tax rate on Californians who earn more than $250,000 a year. For four years, it will also raise the sales tax by a quarter of a cent. Together this will provide about $6 billion a year for four years and slightly less for an additional three years.
This new revenue will help close a state budget gap and ensure that certain programs, especially education, will continue to be funded. Looking only at the environmental issues in question, the volunteer-driven Sierra Club California's leadership voted to support Proposition 30 based on two main reasons.
First, without Proposition 30, the 2012/2013 state budget will be $6 billion short. That means a series of "trigger" cuts will go into effect. Among those are serious cuts to environmental agencies and agency services.
"Without the Proposition 30 revenues, in the very near term, environmental programs will suffer," said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California. "As much as $28 million could be cut right away from programs that affect environmental quality."
Additionally, without Proposition 30 and the possibility of additional revenues it promises for at least 7 years, the legislature and the governor will continue to be trapped in a cycle of deep budget cuts every year. This has direct fallout for the environment. For instance, environmental programs and agencies will continue to suffer cuts and agencies will not be able to do the work needed to meet California's environmental protection goals.
It also has indirect fallout for the environment.
"In recent years we've watched some legislators who don't care about the environment—and the polluting industries who support such legislators—use the budget gap as an argument for rolling back environmental protections," said Phillips. "If proposition 30 fails, those arguments will continue and Californians will face greater threats to air and water, and to the natural areas we all cherish for recreation and wildlife habitat."
Sierra Club California is the legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of the 13 Sierra Club chapters in California, representing more than 170,000 members and activists.
Help us bring you more news. Be a real reader:
By submitting a comment you consent to our rules. You must use your real first and last name, not a nickname or alias. A comment here is just like a letter to the editor or a post on Facebook. Thank you.