Environmental groups are generally lauding Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget, which includes an outline for spending revenue from the state's carbon auctions.
The cap-and-trade program charges companies for the right to pollute. Fees are then supposed to be used for programs aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to shield consumers from any hikes in their electric bill caused by the regulation. Brown's budget proposes how to spend $850 million from the program:
A quarter of the revenue is required to go towards helping environmentally disadvantaged areas, with one tenth invested within those communities.
"The most vulnerable to climate change are those who are low-income and communities of color," said Mari Rose Taruc with the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. "A few of the priority investment areas include energy efficiency for low-income homes. It includes affordable transit-oriented development as part of a broader sustainable communities strategy, as well as urban forestry."
Last year, the governor outraged environmentalists by "borrowing" cap-and-trade revenues to balance the general fund. This year's budget includes $100 million being repaid from that loan, plus $750 million in expected revenue from the program.