Business Alliance Applauds Brown Administration for Budget Proposal to Spend $850 Million of AB 32 Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds.

By Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Green Economy

What a way to start the New Year.

Business Alliance blog readers may recall that just last month, I was proud to join a diverse coalition calling upon Governor Brown to make good on his promise to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency, and work to reduce climate impacts. The details of our October 2013 request to the Governor can be found in this letter signed by 93 businesses and organizations from across the state.

In just the first full week of 2014, I am pleased to share that Governor Brown and his administration have responded favorably to our request by previewing their budget proposal on the use of AB 32 cap and trade auction proceeds, which calls for investing $850 million in clean energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency measures.

Three hundred million is earmarked for sustainable communities and low carbon transportation including $100 million for funding public transit and integrating land use and transportation planning to develop mixed-use communities and $200 million for investing in low-carbon transportation. Further, more than 25 percent of the investments will be designated for disadvantaged communities most impacted by air pollution.

On behalf of the more than 1,260 business and association members of the Business Alliance, I offer thanks to the Brown Administration for receiving our feedback over the past few months, and putting forward a budget proposal that invests AB 32 auction proceeds in ways that will benefit California’s businesses, consumers and the general public while serving as a model program for other states to follow.

As California faces the growing threat of a serious drought and much of the United States remains under a deep arctic freeze, the impacts of climate change are disrupting business operations on a grand scale, from ski resorts, to services businesses, to local governments. Utilizing these cap and trade funds in ways that can benefit our cities, our urban parks, our transportation systems, and more, will provide much-needed near- and long-term benefits.

I know the work isn’t yet complete, as the Legislature must rightly weigh in with its perspective on the Governor’s proposal. And there still is the matter of repayment of the rest of the loan of auction proceeds to the General Fund made in 2013 (there is $400 million remaining to be repaid). But Governor Brown deserves our praise for putting forward a budget proposal that will likely cement California’s position as a national and international leader on clean energy and climate, and for providing a plan for spending AB 32 cap and trade auction proceeds that ultimately will benefit all Californians.

© California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy

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