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Climate programs pinned against each other as Legislature votes on 2024-2025 California Budget

Neighborhoods & Capitol Bdc

June 13, 2024

Blake Marquez

Climate programs pinned against each other as Legislature votes on 2024-2025 California Budget
Funding for Equitable Building Decarbonization Program, providing disadvantaged households with long-overdue energy improvements, slashed by millions. 

Sacramento, CA —The 2024-2025 California Budget approved by California Legislature today has left integral climate programs fighting for funding, while the fossil fuel industry continues to reap benefits left to them in the budget. Among them, the California Energy Commission’s Equitable Building Decarbonization Program (EBD) is slated to receive $551 million in the 2024-2025 budget, a major drop from the $922 million dollars allocated to EBD in the 2022-2023 state budget. 

The California Legislature and Governor Newsom have yet to reach a deal on the budget, and there will be a Budget Jr. bill negotiated between the two parties before Newsom is required to sign the budget by June 30. 

“The climate crisis and its impacts on vulnerable communities do not stop during a budget deficit. California leadership must prioritize strong investments in state programs that support environmental justice communities,”  said Asha Sharma, State Policy Manager, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, “The Equitable Building Decarbonization Program reduces greenhouse gas emissions while providing benefits like lower energy bills and cleaner air to low-income Californians. The communities we work with need this program now more than ever.”

California’s EBD Program is vital to ensure an equitable transition to clean energy for all Californians. Without adequate funding, vulnerable communities remain at risk to negative impacts of climate change, rapidly rising energy rates, and indoor pollution due to reliance on dirty fossil fuels. 

“The Equitable Building Decarbonization program uniquely addresses critical issues California’s most vulnerable households face – from pollution exposure, poor housing conditions, extreme heat, to high energy bills. California’s leaders need to make good on their original equity commitment and prioritize funding holistic climate programs that communities of color are calling for.” Fatima Abdul-Khabir, Sr. Program Manager Energy Equity, Greenlining Institute 

While climate programs like EBD are fighting to keep their funding, the clean air budget coalition has correctly pointed out the 2024-2025 budget allows the fossil fuel industry — the industry largely responsible for the climate crisis — multiple tax dodges, including the Water’s Edge tax loophole, costing California $7 billion in funding annually. The Healthy Homes Working Group (HHWG) and other climate advocacy groups say the recovered $7 billion from ending gas and oil subsidies could help with cuts to key clean air programs. In spite of climate budget shortfalls and handouts to major polluters, HHWG and the clean air budget coalition continues to fight for funding to protect an equitable transition to clean energy for all. 

“Low-income and communities of color urgently need access to cooling and home upgrades for climate resilience as extreme heat intensifies in the state,” said Jose Torres, California Director, Building Decarbonization Coalition. “The Equitable Building Decarbonization Program will protect working-class communities that are especially vulnerable to dangerous heat waves and air pollution. And it will help provide market certainty as the state advances towards clean energy. We urge the Administration to expand access to heat pumps by providing consistent funding to this program and bolstering it through a climate bond.”

Now, Governor Newsom will put out a proposal Monday and have until June 30th to sign a Budget Jr. bill to bridge differences between the new proposal and the budget bill voted on today. 

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