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Testimony: Invest in clean air to protect public health

Engineers with wind turbines
Image by Canva

On April 8, 2024, the California Assembly Committee on Budget met to hear from experts and the public on the proposed 2024-2025 state budget. Facing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, Governor Newsom has proposed billions in potential cuts to climate and energy investments. If approved by the legislature, the cuts could have disastrous consequences for communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, who are already breathing some of the most polluted air in the nation.

The legislature is currently exploring an “early action” budget proposal to close the deficit. Coming off the hottest year on record, California needs to strengthen critical climate programs, not cut them. Every dollar we invest in fighting the climate crisis today will save lives.

The following testimony was given to the committee by Kendra Harris, Government Affairs Manager for The Climate Center:

A recent report released by Next 10 shows that we are not on track to meet our 2030 climate goals and cuts to investments will only make this reality worse. Cuts to critical clean air and climate programs have real and immediate human consequences. Later is too late to protect Californians, especially pollution-burdened communities of color. 

As we consider what expenditures should be shifted from the General Fund to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, we need to prioritize those that produce clean air, public health, and equity benefits. 

We face an affordability crisis with electricity in California. Helping residents move to cheaper and safer clean energy and cleaner appliances is one of the most important things we can do to improve affordability, health, and ensure that our kids get a shot at a thriving future.