April 04, 2013

Riverside hearing looks at distributing energy-efficiency money

BY JIM MILLER | The Press-Enterprise

Inland school officials, union leaders and others are among the scheduled witnesses at a state Senate hearing in Riverside to discuss ways to allocate billions of dollars in future energy-efficiency money generated by last fall’s Prop. 39.

The hearing begins at 2 p.m. Friday, April 5, in the board room at the Riverside Adult School, 6735 Magnolia Ave. It is open to the public.

Approved by 61 percent of California voters, including 57 percent of those in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Prop. 39 ended a corporate tax break that cost the state about $1 billion annually.

For the next five years, about half of the new corporate tax revenue will be for energy-efficiency and alternative energy projects at schools, colleges and other public facilities.

The initiative did not specify how to distribute the money. Gov. Jerry Brown’s January spending plan offered one approach. Others have been put forward in the Legislature.

State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is the author of Senate Bill 39. The latest version of the measure would target the energy-efficiency money at school districts with above-average energy consumption, large shares of low-income students and above-average unemployment in the surrounding area, among other criteria.

“We want to invest where we can get the biggest bang for the buck,” de León, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in an interview.

De León will lead Friday’s meeting of the appropriations panel’s Subcommittee on Fiscal Oversight and Bonded Indebtedness. Other lawmakers scheduled to attend are Assembly members Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, and Jose Medina, D-Riverside; and state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

The Riverside event is the latest of several discussions around the state on how to spend the Prop. 39 money. Other hearings have been in Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and San Francisco.


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