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A ballot proposal in climate-friendly California that would offer financial support for more electric vehicles seems headed for failure as votes on the West Coast trickle in. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 9 (UPI) — Voters in California on Wednesday seem to have rejected a ballot measure that would have offered more subsidies for electric vehicles.
With results trickling in, Democrats on Wednesday seem to have staved off a red wave of victories for their rival Republicans.
Republicans have accused those on the other side of the aisle of supporting a green agenda that would be a detriment to U.S. energy security. U.S. President Joe Biden is a particular target for criticism given his reluctance to support new drilling for oil and gas at a time when those commodities are increasingly scarce.
But while Democrats enjoyed success on Election Day, some of their policies did not register with voters.
“California is home to the most polluted air in America and the defeat of Proposition 30 means that our path to healthy air remains long and rocky,” said Will Barrett, the senior director for clean air advocacy at the American Lung Association.
Proposal 30 appears headed for defeat. If passed, the measure would require residents who earn more than $2 million per year to pay an additional 1.75% in taxes on income over the $2 million mark. A state voter guide suggested that would’ve brought in as much as $5 billion in funding, funding that would also target wildfire response and prevention programs in California.
Opponents argued it would be undue strains on a grid already at risk of blackouts. But it’s not as partisan as one would expect. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who easily secured a second term in office on Tuesday, has campaigned heavily against the measure.
A tally from the Bay Area’s online news agency SFGATE.com found Newsom’s campaign spent around $1.6 million in opposing the proposal. Newsom in a statement said he was concerned the ride-sharing network Lyft, one of the biggest corporate backers of the proposal, would benefit from the measure.
“Prop. 30 is fiscally irresponsible and puts the profits of a single corporation ahead of the welfare of the entire state,” he was quoted as saying.
California mandates require ride-share services bring more electric vehicles into their fleet. By 2035, all of the vehicles on the road will need to be powered by something other that the internal combustion engine. Meanwhile, high taxes mean state average gasoline prices are the highest among Lower 48 states.
The United States in general is far behind the rest of the world in terms of EVs. Reporting from Canary Media, a non-profit agency focused on climate issues, puts Norway at the top of the heap with about 81 out of 1,000 new vehicles sold as all-electric. The United States had about 5.2 per 1,000.