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Not so green: California voters reject tax hike on millionaires to fund EV incentives

Defeat comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom split from California Democratic Party, urging voters to cast a “no” vote against the measure.

Published: November 9, 2022 2:31pm

Updated: November 10, 2022 4:58am

(The Center Square) -

California’s high earners won’t see a tax hike after voters rejected a ballot initiative Tuesday that would have raised taxes on income over $2 million to fund electric vehicle incentives and wildfire prevention.

With 100% of precincts partially reporting, 59.1% of California voters rejected Proposition 30 Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office. The initiative proposed raising taxes by 1.75% on income over $2 million and dedicating the funding toward EV incentives, EV infrastructure and wildfire prevention.

Clean Air California, the group behind the “Yes on 30” campaign, conceded the proposition bid early Wednesday morning, shortly after the AP called the defeat of Prop 30.

“Although we came up short, the strong support for this measure from firefighters, public health groups, environmentalists, labor and many of the state’s leaders shows the urgency for action,” the campaign said in a statement. “Polls showed that a majority of voters supported Prop 30 until thirty of the richest people in the world spent tens of millions of dollars on lies and disinformation.”

The defeat comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom split from the California Democratic Party, urging voters to cast a “no” vote against the measure. Newsom and other opponents claimed Prop 30 was a “tax grab” by the ridesharing company Lyft, who poured in millions to support the measure. Lyft and other ridesharing companies are under a state directive to have 90% of their rides in electric vehicles by 2030.

Supporters of the initiative consistently denied the opposition’s claims, asserting that the measure would offer tax incentives for individuals to purchase electric vehicles and move California closer to its climate goals. Supporters argued that the proposition would help address two of the Golden State’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions – wildfires and transportation.

With the measure defeated, Clean Air California said the “burden is now on the governor to work with legislative leaders to find other ways to fund the transition to a cleaner equitable transportation system and to prevent and control catastrophic wildfires.”

Unofficial results indicate voters also rejected two ballot initiatives to legalize sports betting – Propositions 26 and 27. Proposition 26 would have legalized in-person sports betting at tribal casinos, while Proposition 27 would have allowed online sports betting in the Golden State. Voters also rejected Proposition 29, a measure that would have changed regulations at kidney dialysis clinics.

On the other hand, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to enshrine abortion protections in the state’s constitution (Proposition1) and voted to provide additional funding to schools for art and music education (Proposition 28) with 61.5% of the vote. Unofficial results also indicate voters upheld California’s flavored tobacco ban.

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