Brown: Prop. 39 helps justify disputed $500 million cap-and-trade loan

Gov. Brown said his plan to take $500 million from California’s cap-and-trade auction funds — money that was intended to directly further efforts to fight greenhouse gas emissions — is a “reasonable accommodation” aided in part by voters’ approval last year of a measure to raise corporate taxes.


“We had Proposition 39 funding for many of these projects,” Brown told a Capitol news conference. The $500 million loan is part of the governor’s 2013-14 state budget draft, which was approved Monday by a two-house conference committee. It now goes to the floors of the Assembly and Senate for a vote by Saturday, the constitutional deadline to send the budget to the governor’s desk.


The governor has until July 1 to sign the document and announce any vetoes.


The cap-and-trade auctions were designed to let companies buy and sell emission allowances. Those allowances them to continue to operate as they improve their equipment to cut back carbon emissions in order to reduce the state’s greenhouse gases to 1990 levels over the next seven years. The auctions were created by AB 32 of 2006, landmark legislation requiring cuts in greenhouse gases.


Proposition 39 closed a $1 billion corporate tax break signed into law by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Voters in November approved the ballot initiative, requiring roughly about half of the money to be used to develop clean energy projects and further “green” job creation.


Brown and lawmakers have agreed on a formula to use other funds under Proposition 39 for public education  programs, including charter schools and community colleges.

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