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Gov. ‘Green Jeans’, Prop 30, pricy EVs, Lyft, PG&E & those making less than $100K
Correct Dennis Wyatt mug 2022
Dennis Wyatt

The sale of new hybrids — vehicles that run on gas and batteries charged by braking or gas and plug-in electrics — are non-starters in the California green nirvana envisioned to start clicking in 2035.

On this point, Gov. Newsom is consistent. Fossil fuel is taboo. But when it comes to how to pay to make this all happen, he’s all over the board.

His latest TV blitz has him opposing Proposition 30 on the Nov. 8 ballot. It’s a wealth tax on Californians making more than $2 million a year. Proponents say it will generate as much as $5 billion a year. The bulk of that money would help people buy electric cars and install charging stations. A tiny part would go to wildfire prevention efforts.

It’s framed as a climate imitative.

One of its chief backers financially is Lyft.

Many environmentalists support Prop. 30; the governor not so much.

Newsom calls it “one company’s cynical scheme to grab a huge taxpayer subsidy.”

“Don’t be fooled,” Newsom says in his TV ad. “Prop 30’s been advertised as a climate initiative. But in reality, it was devised by a single corporation to funnel state income taxes to benefit their company. Put simply, Prop 30 is a Trojan horse that puts corporate welfare above the fiscal welfare of our entire state.”

Newsom is taking aim at Lyft. The ride share firm is bankrolling the push for Prop. 30.

Although Lyft won’t directly get subsidies to buy cars since owning vehicles aren’t part of their business plan, the people who drive for them will eventually need to do so.

A funny thing about Lyft drivers — and those with Uber – is they tend to be those who make under $100,000 a year.

The bulk of new EV sales in California even with hefty state and federal tax credits involve households grossing more than $100,000 a year.

Even with the new federal tax credit and the promise of changing technology to lower the production cost, there are more than a few serious warning signs that the price of the materials to make the batteries – along with other inflationary pressures – won’t be bringing the price of EVs down to the point the masses can buy them. Extending the life of older EVs is a tad tricky with replacement batteries running between $10,000 and $20,000.

Yet, Newsom backs a bid by PG&E to have its ratepayers increase what they fork over to the for-profit utility so they can pay for more public chargers to make more money.

It’s a tax on everyone — poor, rich, or indifferent — that has no choice but to buy electricity from PG&E.

PG&E filed the rate application on Oct. 26, 2021 with the California Public Utilities Commission.

For every 500 kWh that cost $139.68 when the rate increase was proposed 11 months ago but is now a good deal higher, PG&E would receive another 50 cents.

This would out $224.4 million of ratepayer money into PG&E’s pocket from 2023 to 2030 to finance PG&E owned Direct Current Fast Charging units at shopping centers government buildings and such so they can sell more power and make more money.

In the real world where companies aren’t guaranteed an 11 percent profit regardless of how many towns they burn down, houses they destroy, people they kill or bankruptcies they file, businesses invest from their profits to leverage loans to install infrastructure so they can make money.

That’s not the PG&E way.

Customers pay for the establishment of more revenue streams and then many of those customers get to pay to use the services those revenue streams create.

Instant return on taking and using other people’s money. What could be more American, right?

Many environmentalists are enraged about the PG&E rate hike either.

But that’s not the question. Why is Newsom doing a full-court press against something Lyft supports that hit the big guy making $2 million plus a year, many of whom talk the talk about going 100 percent green as they drive gas-powered Escalades and jet off to private islands they own in the Caribbean?

Yet Newsom is OK with fleecing the little guy to directly subsidize PG&E’s EV infrastructure that will generate profit for them.

PG&E had a net profit of $475 million in the third quarter than that ended March 31 of this year. They could have written a check from their profits for $222.4 million to underwrite the entire EV charging network they want to install in one fell swoop and still pocket a tidy $252.6 million pocket or the first three months of this year.

Newsom calls what Lyft is doing “corporate welfare” but says nary a peep about PG&E using “corporate welfare” sanctioned by his administration via the CPUC to improve the bottom line of the for-profit utility.

Newsom clearly has no qualms about slowly bleeding to death the little guy for $6 a year.

California has an average household income of $78,672 a year. That $6 is the numerical equivalent to $152 for someone with a household income of $2 million.

But in reality since $78,672 is borderline struggling for many households to keep treading water in California for basic necessities,  the household making $2 million is loving a more “robust lifestyle” unless they are channeling Sam Walton.

None of this should really matter, right?

If we have to do it, we have to do it.

But Newsom suddenly playing social justice warrior in the forced rush to green power and fossil fuel free new car sales is a tad too much to comprehend when he seems to ignore every nail that his administration is allowing the likes of PG&E to drive into the household financial coffin of nearly 16 million Californians at the mercy of the San Francisco firm that’s the darling of Wall Street hedge funds.

Kermit the Frog says it isn’t easy being green.

That’s not the case for Gov. Gavin “Green Jeans” Newsom.

When an opportunity arises where he can take cover in being a populist, he takes it.

Newsom can change colors back and forth so fast it would make a chameleon envious.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Courier or 209 Multimedia.