Despite budget cuts, some clean air wins

The 2024-2025 State Budget agreement represents a major setback for California’s climate and clean air commitments. For the second straight year, California will delay and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in climate investments. These cuts will impact California’s efforts to deploy clean vehicles, expand transit as well as build biking and pedestrian infrastructure. Further, the State Budget will raid a $300 million air pollution fund and use the money to help balance the budget. Despite this, California will continue to fund costly highway expansion projects that will only increase traffic congestion and pollution.

Some important wins for clean air

The budget agreement, however, is not all bad news. Thanks to the tireless efforts of advocates and allies, the budget agreement includes some major wins for California’s air quality:

“We knew this would be a difficult budget year,” said Chris Chavez, Deputy Policy Director at Coalition for Clean Air. “While the budget falls far short of our climate and clean air commitments, it could have been even worse. We thank the Governor and the Legislature for protecting some of the state’s equity-focused climate and clean air programs.”

The time for a climate bond is now

Now, state leaders are turning their attention to developing a climate bond for the November 2024 ballot. A climate bond is the best – and perhaps last – opportunity to create dedicated funding for climate and clean air. Budgets can whisk away existing climate funds for other things, even if they are unrelated to air pollution. Future budgets, however, would not be able to raid money from a voter-approved climate bond.

“California will find itself in the same situation again and again if state leaders fail to come to an agreement on a climate bond”, said Chavez. “For the past several years, environmental advocates have come to the table with solutions to generate and protect climate money. With few options remaining, state leaders must place a climate bond on the November ballot and ensure that air quality and equity are prioritized.”



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