Calif. Budget Proposes Shifting Energy-Efficiency Funds

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget shifts Proposition 39 energy-efficiency funds away from their intended projects — namely, schools and other buildings — and instead gives all the money to schools, San Francisco Examiner reports.

Prop. 39 passed with 61 percent of the vote in November 2012, closing a loophole for out-of-state corporations that will result in more money for state coffers.

For the next five years, half of the revenue resulting from Prop. 39, projected to be $500 million per year, will be dedicated to energy-efficiency and clean-energy programs such as installing solar panels, upgrading old heating and cooling systems, swapping out old windows and implementing other energy-saving technologies.

The funds were slated for schools and government buildings — but, according to the Examiner, the governor’s budget gives every penny to schools and allocates it on a per-pupil basis.

This approach isn’t likely to achieve the highest level of energy-efficiency benefits for the state, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office overview of the governor’s budget.

“Proposition 39 specifically states that projects must be selected based on the number of in–state jobs they would create and their energy benefits,” it says. “By dedicating all the energy–related funding over the five–year period only to school and community colleges and excluding other eligible projects that potentially could achieve a greater level of benefits, the Governor’s proposal very likely would not maximize state energy and job benefits. We believe that a more effective approach would be to first evaluate the relative energy savings and job benefits among all potential projects.”

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