Healthy Air

CALPIRG calls for clean air investments, cuts to oil subsidies

Clean air

Andy Smith | TPIN
CALPIRG joins California legislators, environmental groups, and activists to call for clean air investments

On Wednesday, CALPIRG joined state legislators, environmental groups, and activists in calling on California to maintain critical investments in clean transportation and clean air programs. 

CALPIRG State Director Jenn Engstrom and several student volunteers with our CALPIRG Students chapter at UC Davis provided public comment during an informational hearing of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on Climate Crisis, Resources, Energy, and Transportation Committee about the importance of investing in clean air programs, and cutting unnecessary and harmful oil and gas subsidies and highway expansion projects to redirect funds to do so. 

Following the hearing, supporters gathered for a Rally for Clean Air Funding. Our State Director Jenn Engstrom provided the following statement: 

“My name is Jenn Engstrom and I’m the state director of the public interest advocacy group CALPIRG. We work to protect Californian’s health, safety, and well-being. That includes looking out for the public interest in our state budgeting process, and calling for smart budgeting that uses our taxpayer dollars towards things that benefit society. 

While we understand that the state budget is strained, cutting important programs that will lead to cleaner air and healthier communities is not the answer. The first step should be cutting subsidies and tax expenditures for oil and gas, as well as harmful and unnecessary highway expansion. Especially when our budget is tight and critical programs are on the line, we need to make sure that taxpayer dollars aren’t thwarting our clean climate goals.

We appreciate that the Governor’s draft budget does include some cuts to fossil fuel subsidies, but there are more cuts to be made. For example, California should cut the Water’s Edge Election, a tax expenditure that allows multinational corporations to compute the income attributable to California on the basis of a water’s edge or domestic-only combined report, as opposed to a worldwide combined report. Closing this loophole will bring in state revenue that’s otherwise hidden in offshore tax havens. 

Not only should the budget cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, but it must also divert funding away from highway expansion projects, like the I-15 Corridor Expansion Project located in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. If any of you have experienced the frustration and aftermath of a highway expansion you know it does nothing to relieve congestion and only increases the number of miles driven, polluting our air even more.

Cutting these harmful and unnecessary expenses that actively make climate change worse will allow us to redirect state resources towards programs that protect our communities and our planet.” 

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