California voters reject millionaire tax to boost electric vehicles

Michael Lohscheller, David Lyon
VinFast CEO Michael Lohscheller, left, and Chief Design Officer David Lyon introduce the company’s new EVs the VF e35, at left, and VF e36 at the AutoMobility LA Auto Show Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

California voters reject millionaire tax to boost electric vehicles

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Voters in California have rejected a ballot amendment that would have taxed high earners in an effort to streamline the transition to electric vehicles.

The proposal would have levied a 1.75% tax on personal income of more than $2 million, funds that were to be used to subsidize zero-emission vehicle purchases, build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and add to wildfire prevention efforts.

The measure was expected to net between $3 billion and $5 billion annually, drawn from fewer than 43,000 of California’s 39 million residents.

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The proposal had a very notable (and perhaps) surprising opponent: California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom went against the Democratic Party in advocating against the measure and accused it of being placed on the ballot only to enrich multibillion-dollar ride-sharing company Lyft, which has heavily funded support for the measure.

“Prop 30 is being advertised as a climate initiative,” Newsom said in an advertisement against the ballot measure. “But in reality, it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company. Put simply, Prop 30 is a Trojan horse that puts corporate welfare above the fiscal welfare of our entire state.”

Newsom has backed a plan to ban the in-state sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 to spur the use of electric vehicles and cut down on environment-harming emissions. Supporters of Proposition 30 said it would help speed up that transition.

California’s governor, meanwhile, said that Lyft was funding it for its own ends because state regulators are requiring that all ride-share trips be zero-emission by 2030. He asserts the measure would help ride-share drivers purchase electric vehicles and therefore benefit the company.

Lyft pushed back and said that its support also came from a place of concern about climate change.

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“Proposition 30 funds this through a tax on individuals who earn more than $2 million a year. I’m fortunate enough to be impacted by this tax and happy to pay it to help turn back the clock on this existential threat,” wrote Logan Green, the company’s CEO, in a blog post.

Some in favor of Proposition 30 also accused the governor of not supporting it due to pressure from his wealthy donors.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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