$550 Million Coming Each Year to Green California Schools, Public Buildings

Joe Wolf/CC BY-ND 2.0

We missed this green ballot initiative when rounding up them post-election: Mercury News reports that one hugely green part of California's Prop 39—a ballot initiative that closed tax loopholes on out-of-state corporations—is that half of the revenue it will generate will go towards greening, modernizing and making more efficient public schools and buildings.

Half of Prop 39's expected revenue is a the proverbial shed load of money: $550 million each year, $2.75 billion by the time the provisions of the measure expire in 2018.

Here's how Mercury News explains how the money from Prop 39 is to be spent:

The money should pay to retrofit schools, colleges, universities and other public buildings; it can also be used to fund job-training programs in energy efficiency -- and incentives to put solar panels on homes.

Joe Caves, a longtime environmental lobbyist who wrote the measure, said the lack of specifics is on purpose. The measure notes that the Legislature must appropriate the money, which means next year lawmakers will pass a bill to create new programs in one or more agencies like the state Department of Education or the California Energy Commission, he said. Those agencies will set up grant programs for school districts and other local governments to compete for the money.

"It's got to go through existing public agencies, and the projects have to be evaluated as cost effective," Caves said. "It's not like legislators are going to be able to say, 'I want $100,000 to go this project or $50,000 to that one.' And they can't make the grants to private businesses. We built in a lot of controls."

Tags: California | Energy Efficiency | Green Building

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