Last year the people of California passed Prop.39—to create a fund to invest in energy firms and research, with the rest going to help government agencies pay for energy efficiencies. We were told this would create a $1.1 billion Trust Fund each year.
Now we find out it is really $2 billion in taxes taken from the private sector—and it will go for the overhead of government schools. Pass a water bond and the State will pay for water use of schools? Government money in fungible and easily stolen—like the $15 billion in Trust Funds stolen by Arnold and Jerry to help cover the deficit.
“To initiate implementation discussions about Proposition 39 passed by the voters in November, Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) convened the Subcommittee on Fiscal Oversight and Bonded Indebtedness in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Murchison Elementary School. Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) joined Senator De León on the dais. Panelists from education, labor, business and environmental organizations outlined pitfalls to avoid when spending the more than $2 billion in energy efficiency funds generated by the initiative.”
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Senator Kevin DeLeon, 2/21/13
LOS ANGELES, CA – To initiate implementation discussions about Proposition 39 passed by the voters in November, Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) convened the Subcommittee on Fiscal Oversight and Bonded Indebtedness in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Murchison Elementary School. Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) joined Senator De León on the dais. Panelists from education, labor, business and environmental organizations outlined pitfalls to avoid when spending the more than $2 billion in energy efficiency funds generated by the initiative.
“Hearing from experts and community members has been a great learning process about the needs of our communities,” said Senator De León. “I look forward to additional hearings in the Inland empire and the Central Valley to seek input from stakeholders and to work on passing Senate Bill 39 so we can get Californians back to work, save energy and improve conditions for our schoolchildren.”
Senator De León has introduced Senate Bill 39, which will award energy efficiency upgrade grants to the most economically disadvantaged school communities in need of modernization. These grants will maximize job creation; create long-term energy cost savings for schools and put money back in classrooms; shrink our carbon footprint and reduce pollution creating cleaner air for our children; create accountability and transparency to ensure we invest in line with the voters’ will; and minimize bureaucracy so the public experiences maximum value in real projects. To meet these goals, Senator De León is meeting with stakeholders around the state to solidify SB 39, giving the voters what they asked for – by a 20 point margin: jobs and greater energy savings.
At the hearing, Mark Hovatter, Chief Facilities Executive, Los Angeles Unified School District, shared that their total utility bill for 2011-2012 was $105 million. The electric service alone was $83 million. By retrofitting schools in the district, it is estimated the energy savings could be around 25 percent, generating an additional $20 million that could support teachers and efficient district operations that have been especially hard hit by cuts in recent years.
Ron Miller, Executive Secretary Los Angeles/Orange Counties, CA Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO focused on the California comeback and creating badly needed jobs for the unemployed. Construction workers have been hit the hardest, experiencing unemployment rates between 30-40 percent and retrofitting California’s public schools will be a mini-stimulus package potentially creating 66,000 good jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for well-trained workers in California that can’t be outsourced.
Mary Luévano with Global Green cited their study, Healthier, Wealthier, Wiser: A Report on National Green Schools, which compiled several studies, including data from the United States Green Building Council which reports that green schools on average save $100,000 per year – enough to hire two new teachers, buy 500 new computers, or purchase 5000 new textbooks. Researchers have also found that students in old buildings scored five-seven percentage points lower than students in new buildings and that classroom noise, lighting and temperature improvements can lead to a 36-point increase in California Academic Performance Index scores.
Other panelists included Richard Luke, Director of Design and A/E Technical Support, Los Angeles Unified School District; Dr. Jorge Partida, Executive Director, US Green Building Council – L.A. Chapter; and Nidia Bautista, Policy and Legislative Affairs Director, Coalition for Clean Air, who focused on accountability mechanisms for school construction programs, current funding and programs, and the auditing process, oversight and accountability necessary for success.
The Center for the Next Generation, released a white paper that has provided a foundation for SB 39 implementation. Findings from the paper include:
· California’s school system is the largest in the country. One in every eight students in the K-12 system nationwide goes to school in California.
· Our 10,569 public schools spend about $700 million per year on energy, which is as much as they spend on all books and supplies.
· 73 percent of CA schools are more than 25 years old.
· Retrofitting California’s public schools would save at least 30 percent in energy costs per school – that’s $230 million across the entire California system.
· Every school retrofit project creates approximately 20 jobs per million dollars of investment, many of these jobs in our hard-hit construction sector. Investing $550 million per year from Proposition 39 would result in 11,000 jobs associated with the retrofit projects, and would free up resources for schools to retain or add teachers and staff as well.
· Retrofitting school ventilation systems also improves indoor air quality, which increases student performance by providing a healthy learning environment for our kids. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism today, resulting in $30 million in lost revenues to schools. Investing in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which make up more than 65 percent of all school energy costs, will save energy dollars and keep kids healthy and learning.
In 2011, after a series of Senate Select Committee on Energy Efficiency stakeholder meetings around the state, Senator De León teamed up with Tom Steyer and former Secretary of State George Shultz as co-chairs of Proposition 39 to close a $1 billion tax loophole to restore fairness to California’s corporate tax system. Created in a last-minute, closed-door budget deal in 2009, the loophole gave out-of-state corporations an unfair tax advantage over California.
For the first five years, Prop. 39 will dedicate half of the revenues recovered to job-creating energy efficiency and clean energy programs implemented by legislation. The other half of the revenues, an anticipated $500 million dollars a year will go to schools – helping to restore vital funding to schools devastated by years of cuts. After five years, all of the revenues will go directly to the General Fund, a permanent investment in our state’s future.
More information and research can be found at www.SB39AdvanceCalifornia.org.