Joint Statement from Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Proposition 39 Co-Chair Tom Steyer

Monday, August 17, 2015

Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Proposition 39 Co-Chair Tom Steyer issued the following statement:

Along with former Secretary of State George Shultz, we co-chaired – and California voters overwhelmingly supported -- Proposition 39 because it promised to close a massive corporate tax loophole for companies shipping jobs out-of-state and generate new revenue for public schools, supporting jobs here at home – and that’s exactly what it’s done and what it will continue to do.

It’s irresponsible and more than a little misleading to prejudge a long-term, multi-year program this early in the process.  We are disappointed that the Associated Press did not take time to present an objective or comprehensive analysis of what is still a developing program.

Here are the facts: Prop 39 successfully ended a tax loophole that rewarded multinational corporations for sending California jobs to other states and countries.  By itself, this is a significant step forward.

What’s more, already in the short time Prop 39 funding has been available, California schools have made vital improvements, saving $25 million in annual energy costs by pursuing projects that are creating thousands of clean-energy jobs.  And that’s just scratching the surface.

Most school districts are either in the planning phase or are preparing to launch large-scale, intensive retrofit projects that will maximize benefits to students, school sites and the California economy.

We have every confidence that, as more projects break ground and come on line, Californians in every region of the state will increasingly realize the full benefits of improvements that make schools stronger and more energy-efficient while building on our state’s position as America’s clean-energy jobs leader.

In the interest of full accountability and taxpayer transparency, every dollar spent, every job created and every watt of energy saved will be tracked and posted publicly.
Proposition 39 is already successful, providing hundreds of millions of dollars to schools and creating jobs, which we are proud of.  It is fundamentally inaccurate to draw broad conclusions regarding Proposition 39’s full impact until the program is fully implemented.   

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Background

The newly appointed Citizen’s Oversight Board will meet for the first time this fall, at which point thorough and independent program evaluation can begin. Proposition 39 Guidelines state that the Energy Commission will provide reports to the Citizens Oversight Board annually beginning January 2016.    

A vast majority (84%) of the plans that have been approved so far are for multi-year projects that have yet to begin. Most school districts are either in the planning phase or are intentionally waiting to bundle multiple years of funding in order to launch large-scale, intensive retrofit projects that will maximize benefits to students, school sites and the California economy.

More information: http://focus.senate.ca.gov/prop39