SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to borrow $500 million from cap-and-trade proceeds to cover general fund expenses has not been warmly welcomed in the Legislature.
"It doesn’t really make sense," said Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) at a budget subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. "But a lot about the budget doesn’t make sense."
The subcommittee did not hold a vote, but both Democrats and Republicans voiced opposition to the governor's proposal.
“We’d like the governor to reconsider this position and get started yesterday," said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).
So far, the state has generated $257 million through its cap-and-trade program, which forces companies to purchase credits if they produce more than their allotted share of carbon emissions.
The money is supposed to be spent on projects that further reduce greenhouse gases. But Brown administration officials say it's needed to help balance the budget this year. Borrowing the money and returning it at some point in the future would allow state agencies the time they need to develop programs to spend it wisely on environmental programs, they say.However, dozens of advocates who have testified at Capitol hearings say there's plenty of transportation and clean energy projects that could use the money.
Bill Magavern, the policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air, noted that Brown recently attended the installation of solar panels at a Long Beach home.
“That’s exactly the kind of project that should be funded with this money," Magavern said.