New York, California Voters Differ On Climate Measures

New York, California Voters Differ On Climate Measures

Climate measures were on the ballot in New York and California during the midterm elections on Tuesday, with each state taking differing actions.

In New York, a proposal called the Clean Water, Clean Energy, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act was approved. The measure was $4.2 billion and would send millions of dollars in funding toward improvements to infrastructure throughout the state, according to Times Union.

The money will also put aside $500 million to get school districts on track to make sure all of their school buses are electric by 2035. The goal was mandated by the state earlier this year. In addition, there will be money to transition state facilities and schools to energy efficient buildings, and $500 million will go toward off-shore wind farms.

Kate Kurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates NY, told Axios that some people were against the legislation because they say it will put the state further into debt. However, Kurera argued, it will also “help prepare and provide clean drinking water, which is a message that really resonates strongly with New Yorkers.”

In California, voters took the opposite approach. The measure on the ballot was Proposition 30, which was supported by ride share business Lyft. It would have taxed high-income earners in the state who make more than $2 million per year. The taxpayers would have had to shell out another 1.75% income tax on the money they make that exceeds $2 million. The tax would stop by 2043, and would be ended earlier if California got its greenhouse gas emissions down to a certain point before that time period.

The money collected from the tax would have gone toward more funds for zero-emission vehicles programs and wildfire actions.

Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom was against the proposal and claimed it was a measure that would help Lyft. A state mandate is requiring 90% of ride share cars to be electric by 2030.

Newsom reportedly said in an ad that the measure “was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company.”

Lyft was disappointed with the outcome and had put $45 million toward lobbying for the measure.

“Millions were spent by the opposition to confuse and misguide voters, however we are undaunted,” it said in a statement. “We are proud to be a part of such a diverse and powerful coalition that includes some of the state’s most prominent environmental, public health, social justice, business and labor organizations, and we remain committed to achieving our collective climate goals.”

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