Go big on climate in this year’s budget. Later is too late.

May 5, 2022

Dear Governor Newsom, Pro Tem Atkins, and Speaker Rendon:

The following groups support your goal of helping to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. In particular, we support using the budget as a tool to move California toward an equitable 100% clean energy economy, increase community resilience, and protect our state’s natural and working lands and waters.

The budget proposed by the Governor in January reflected a combined 2021-22 and 2022-23 climate investment of $37 billion, a climate investment larger than any other state (and most countries) have made to date. While each of our organizations have proposed or may propose changes to specific elements of the proposed budget, we applaud the vision reflected in the scale of this proposed set of investments. Moreover, we support the breadth of the action that is proposed in a broad range of state agencies. We urge you and all legislators to maintain and expand this level of commitment as budget negotiations move forward, to ensure that investments lock in durable progress on climate, and to increase climate investments proportionately as the true size of the surplus becomes known.

Based on recent estimates from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, this year’s budget may exceed $300 billion before it is enacted, and the available budget surplus may be more than double the amount projected in the January budget proposal. We may never have a better opportunity to double down on our state’s climate commitment. We must act now with every tool at our disposal to protect our state’s residents from the increasingly deadly effects of global warming and to accelerate a just and equitable transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Global warming is not a niche issue, but one that impacts our whole state and therefore needs to be addressed by all the state agencies. Given concerns many have regarding the State Appropriations Limit, we urge you mobilize special funds, carefully targeted tax rebates and
subventions, and capital outlays in a manner that advances climate action. Every part of our state government spending has the opportunity to help protect our people, our natural resources, and our economy from the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We must quickly learn
to integrate equitable and effective climate action into every aspect of what the state does — from what vehicles taxpayer dollars purchase to how we manage funds for schools, roads, climate resilience, conservation, and other infrastructure.

As we look toward the May Revise and the passage of the 2022-23 Budget we want to express our support for applying a substantial portion of the increased surplus to bold investments that accelerate climate resilience and mitigation.

The current budget surplus represents an unprecedented opportunity to prepare for and mitigate the challenges global warming will inflict on our state. Please take the bold action this crisis demands. We look forward to working with you.

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Arnold Sowell Jr.
Executive Director
NextGen California

Dan Jacobson
Senior Advisor
Environment California

Victoria Rome
California Government Affairs Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Katelyn Roedner Sutter
Senior Manager, US Climate
Environmental Defense Fund

Paul Mason
VP, Policy and Incentives
Pacific Forest Trust

Torri Estrada
Executive Director
Carbon Cycle Institute

Matthew Baker
Policy Director
Planning and Conservation League

Nailah Pope-Harden
Executive Director

Jonathan Parfrey
Executive Director
Climate Resolve

Nick Lapis
Director of Advocacy
Californians Against Waste

Ellie Cohen
Chief Executive Officer
The Climate Center

Laura Walsh
California Policy Manager
Surfrider Foundation

Erin Rodriguez
CA Policy Advocate
Union of Concerned Scientists

David Diaz
Executive Director
Active San Gabriel Valley

Ashley Overhouse
Resilient Rivers Director
Friends of the River

Hayley Currier
Policy Advocacy Manager

Steve Birdlebough & Willard Richards
Advocate & Chair
Sonoma County Transportation & Land-Use Coalition

Ben Keller
Co-Chair, Legislative Committee
350 Bay Area Action

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