The California ballot measure funded by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer that raised taxes on corporations to create clean energy jobs has generated less than a tenth of the promised jobs.
The Associated Press reported that the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop. 39) has only created 1,700 clean energy jobs, despite initial predictions it would generate more than 11,000 each year beginning in fiscal year 2013-14.
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Prop. 39, which voters approved in 2012 after Steyer poured $30 million into the campaign supporting it, closed a tax loophole for multi-state corporations in order to fund energy efficient projects in schools that would in turn create clean energy jobs.
More than half of the $297 million given to schools for the projects has been funneled to consultants and energy auditors.
Moreover, the State Energy Commission, a nine-member board established to oversee the spending for the law and create annual progress reports to submit to the California legislature, has never actually met. The state, therefore, has no comprehensive measure of the progress made or energy saved by the energy efficient projects.
Completion of the projects has been meager. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, for example, no projects have been completed despite the fact that the state allocated $12.6 million for projects in the district of almost 1,000 schools.
Advocates for the ballot measure, including Steyer, dispersed overblown predictions about the amount of money the proposition would generate for the school energy projects. While proponents insisted it would provide as much as $550 million each year to the Clean Jobs Energy Fund, in reality the measure brought in $381 million in 2013, $279 million in 2014 and $313 million in 2015.
Nevertheless, Steyer stood by the law.
"Proposition 39 has already accomplished its goal of protecting California jobs and employers by closing a corporate tax loophole for companies that ship California jobs to other states," Steyer said in a statement.