By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Despite showing early support for the measure, California voters appear poised to reject a ballot initiative seeking to raise taxes on wealthy residents to fund vehicle charging stations, eclectic vehicle purchase incentives and wildfire prevention.
A new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California indicates voters may have soured on Proposition 30, a measure backed by Lyft that would increase taxes on Californians making more than $2 million annually to fund efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions. Just 41% of likely voters said they would vote “yes” compared to 52% who said they would vote “no” on the proposition, according to PPIC.
This represents a shift since September when PPIC’s survey indicated that 55% of voters would cast a “yes” vote in favor of Proposition 30.
In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom split from the California Democratic Party – which supports the measure – and released an ad urging voters to cast a “no” vote on Prop. 30. Within the ad, Gov. Newsom claims that though Prop. 30 is presented as a climate initiative, “in reality, it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company.”
Though Gov. Newsom does not refer to Lyft by name, the ad includes several news headlines that name the ridesharing giant. Lyft has contributed more than $35 million in support of the effort.
Lyft and other ridesharing companies are required by state order to transition their fleets to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. While Lyft as a corporation would not directly benefit from the tax revenue, the drivers who contract with the ridesharing giant could be eligible for incentives to purchase an electric vehicle.
Gov. Newsom and other opponents have referred to Prop. 30 as Lyft’s “tax grab.” The governor described the measure as “one company’s cynical scheme to grab a huge taxpayer funded subsidy.”
Supporters of Prop. 30 have denounced the governor’s stance on the initiative, saying that the funding will be directed to state programs to increase electric vehicle incentives and wildfire prevention efforts.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates a new tax on high-income taxpayers would raise between $3.5 billion to $5 billion annually and grow over time.