State budget cuts escalate urgent need for robust, equitable climate bond on the November ballot

We need our leaders to put an equitable climate bond on the November ballot. The climate bond must direct significant funding to programs that support environmental justice communities that were cut in the budget.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT
Jill Hindenach, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, 202-494-6309, jhindenach@leadershipcounsel.org

SACRAMENTO, CA — Over the weekend, the California Legislature and Governor Newsom released their joint budget deal, deciding the fate of many state programs and services. While the deal maintains funding for a few key programs for environmental justice communities, it cuts funding to numerous programs at a time when vulnerable Californians need them most. 

We commend the legislature and the governor for partially restoring funding for the Active Transportation Program, which invests in the expansion and safety of active modes of transportation, such as walking and biking, partially restoring funding for water and wastewater infrastructure, and funding Salton Sea remediation to reduce pollution for surrounding communities and greenhouse gas emissions. 

However, we’re disappointed to see funding for regional climate projects and equitable building decarbonization cut so dramatically. Many communities need community centers and programs to build resilience in the face of climate change, and home energy upgrades to reduce climate emissions and address risks from extreme heat. Meanwhile, false climate solutions, like subsidies for factory farm gas, continue to receive state funding, and oil and gas tax breaks, like the Water’s Edge Election, remain in place.

It is clear that the state must find a secure, longer-term source of funding for climate resilience and mitigation — particularly those that protect environmental justice communities from climate impacts and ensure that they can participate in a just energy transition. Much of the funding that supports climate programs in the budget deal comes from the state’s Cap and Trade Program, the revenue of which is difficult to predict, and allows corporations to continue to rely on fossil fuels. A climate bond is another avenue that more than 180 organizations, including Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, are advocating for to fill some of the funding gaps exacerbated by state budget cuts this year.

We need our leaders to put an equitable climate bond on the November ballot. The climate bond must direct significant funding to programs that support environmental justice communities that were cut in the budget, like safe drinking water, the Equitable Building Decarbonization program, the Transformative Climate Communities and Community Resilience Centers. In this difficult moment, we have the opportunity to show why California is hailed as a climate leader, and that we deserve that title. But this will only be possible if we put frontline communities first and commit to moving forward an equitable climate bond.

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Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability (LCJA) works alongside the most impacted communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Eastern Coachella Valley to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. LCJA focuses on issues like housing, land use, transportation, safe and affordable drinking water and climate change impacts on communities.

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