How Ballot Measure to Fund EV Transition in California Failed

One of the states where residents advocate for climate change through municipal officials is California — a state that is known for backing climate-related tax legislation. In June, a tax on California’s super-rich was proposed in order to raise money for electric vehicles and bush fire prevention, but the ballot measure was defeated by 59% of voters casting ballots against it, leaving many to wonder how such a widely supported initiative could lose in a state that highly advocates for climate change.

At a glance, the initiative appeared to be winning due to the overwhelming support received from the American Lung Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other public groups. However, things became chaotic toward in July, right when the California Democratic Party backed Proposition 30. A group of billionaires and the California Teachers Association, as well as Governor Gavin Newsom, who betrayed his party, launched an opposition movement against it.

The Union of Teachers objected to the placing of interest on income tax, which is typically used to pay for schools. On the other hand, Governor Newsom focused his attention on LYFT, the main financier of the proposition. The governor has been actively opposing the measure since September, urging the residents of California to reject Lyft’s devious ploy to seize the taxpayer-funded subsidy. The governor went so far as to use campaign funds meant for his re-election to oppose the measure.

According to Catherin Wolfram, Newsom has a significant voice as a climate activist in the state, which is why voters heeded his call when he went against Proposition 30. According to California law, rideshare enterprises must record 90% of the kilometers driven in electric vehicles by 2030. Newsom charged Lyft with attempting to utilize tax money in its bid to switch to electric vehicles. As soon as Newsom voiced his opposition to the proposal, its popularity began to decline.

According to the organizations that developed the measure, Lyft joined the initiative primarily to fund it, despite the claims raised by the governor.

In addition to distrust regarding Lyft’s involvement, other opponents supported the fight Proposition 30. Those with annual incomes of more than $2 million, for example, would bear the brunt of the 1.75% tax increase. These billionaires were among the top contributors to the campaign against Proposition 30, and their financial muscle ensured that voices opposed to the measure were heard across the state, with the devastating effect of the measure being rejected at the polls.

While the voter measure in California failed, that doesn’t mean that the forward march of the electric vehicle industry and its numerous actors, including QuantumScape Corp. (NYSE: QS), have been dealt a fatal blow. Demand is growing rapidly, and is unlikely to slow down in the decades to come.

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