New California climate bond plans diverge on clean energy funding

By Alex Nieves | 06/03/2024 06:19 AM EDT

A draft Assembly spending proposal would dedicate more funding to offshore wind than a Senate counterpart.

Wind turbines are pictured in the ocean.

California state lawmakers are working to shrink their climate bond proposals ahead of the June 27 deadline to place them on the November ballot. Steve Helber/AP

California state lawmakers have started drafting climate bond scenarios at a range of price tags that point to significant differences in how the Assembly and Senate are prioritizing clean energy funding, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and state Sen. Ben Allen, authors of their chambers’ respective climate bonds, have in recent months said they plan to shrink their proposals — each north of $15 billion — with the help of working groups in each chamber. The documents show movement ahead of a late June deadline to qualify bonds for the November ballot and highlight potential sticking points as negotiations heat up.

There are several spending bonds jockeying for the November ballot. Garcia said last month that he believes Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have committed to pursuing a school infrastructure bond but that they’ve offered less certainty about the fates of climate and housing proposals. Newsom has said the state’s capacity to take on more bond debt in November is around $20 billion, after the passage of a mental health bond in March.


The draft numbers point to the chambers taking different approaches, with the Assembly mapping out potential bonds with $10 billion, $8 billion and $6 billion price tags, and the Senate honing in on $9 billion and $6.8 billion figures.