Income

Newsom vetoes tax credit for low-income residents living without a car

By MADISON HIRNEISEN

THE CENTER SQUARE

(The Center Square) — A bill that would have enacted a tax credit for low-income families who don’t own a vehicle was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week over tax concerns.

Governor Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 457 this week, a measure that would have offered a $1,000 tax credit to certain low-income taxpayers without a registered vehicle. The bill, which was significantly amended before reaching the governor, would have taken effect in January 2023 and would apply to couples earning $60,000 or less who file jointly and individuals earning $40,000 or less.

In a veto message on Wednesday, Governor Newsom expressed concern that the cost of the bill is not “accounted for in the budget.” He repeated a familiar sentiment written in several other veto messages this year – “With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues in the first few months of this fiscal year, it’s important to remain disciplined on spending, keeping particular expenditure that is ongoing.

Supporters of the bill said they were disappointed with the veto and questioned the state’s ease of spending to provide incentives for zero-emission vehicles. With transportation making up a large portion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, advocates say incentives to help people transition to car-free lives are needed to reduce emissions.

“If our goal is to tackle climate change, it can’t just be about giving people money to buy electric cars – we also need to get people to stop driving so much in general,” he said. said Michael Schneider, founder of Streets for All. Center Square Thursday. “It puzzles me why we’re willing to give away thousands so easily to get people to buy an electric car, but we’re not willing to spend as much or even less money to get people not to buy an electric car. not use a car at all.”

A budget analysis initially estimated that the bill would cost $900 million in the first year of implementation and $950 million in the second year. However, a careful Franchise Tax Board review shared with Streets For All shows that the first year of implementation would cost $16 million, followed by $900 million in year two and $950 million in year three.

Mr Schneider said he was unsure whether the updated figure would have made a “material difference” to getting the governor’s signature on the measure, but said the situation was “frustrating”.

In his veto message, Governor Newsom wrote that he supported “approaches to incentivize a transition of vehicles to more sustainable transportation” but argued that bills with a “significant fiscal impact” should be taken taken into account as part of the annual budget process.

Streets for All says it plans to support a similar measure next year. Mr Schneider said he would “love to see something big, bold and ambitious that matches the Governor’s rhetoric on climate change in next year’s budget”.