As if we needed more proof that California already collects way too much in tax revenue, the once-golden state’s legislators have put forth SB 457. This legislative
monstrosity bill aims to give a $2,500 income tax credit to each and every Californian who lives in a taxpayer’s household, is sixteen or older, and does not own a registered vehicle. The bill would limit the total credit to $7,500 per household.
Authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada-Flintridge) and sponsored by leftist nonprofit Streets for All, the bill’s lofty goals claim to “make it fairer” for those Californians who don’t own a car or can’t afford a car as well as to reduce pollution. “Streets for All is a proud sponsor of SB 457 which creates a $2500 tax rebate for each person without a car in a household,” said Bubba Fish, legislative advocate at Streets for All. “Single occupancy vehicles remain the number one contributor to greenhouse gases in California and the leading cause of death to children in the country. Car owners were recently given up to $800 in subsidies and similar tax rebates already exist for those who purchase a zero-emissions vehicle. But SB 457 invests in the future by encouraging Californians to use public transit, cycling, scootering, walking, and other sustainable modes to get around. It is beyond time to support families who choose the safest, most sustainable option, not owning a vehicle at all.”
“As the impacts of climate change are felt across our state, it’s time we more aggressively commit to implementing modes of sustainable transportation,” Sen. Portantino said in a press release. “S.B. 457 is an important step towards that goal. We can invest in the future by providing financial incentives for Californians to transition from vehicles to more sustainable options.”
According to Green Car Congress, there are 26.87 million registered vehicles in the state of California — the most of any state. California has 33,051,894 households and 24,621,819 people eighteen or older (the majority of whom likely don’t own a vehicle, and that’s not even counting the sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds) according to Infoplease and U.S. Census data. You do the math; that’s a whole lot of $7,500 credits, and that’s a whole lot of taxation the state obviously didn’t need to take from Californians in the first place.
So how did we get here so late in the legislative session? SB 457 was introduced not through normal channels but through what’s known as the “gut-and-amend” process. By deleting (gutting) and rewriting (amending) an existing unrelated transportation bill’s text (that in its original form had already passed through several state Senate committees and a floor vote), legislators were able to pass it and send it to the Assembly. Currently, by law, it now awaits passage by the Assembly Committee on Revenue & Taxation before then being put in front of the state Assembly for a floor vote later this month. It must pass that committee and an Assembly floor vote before returning to go back through the Senate committee process once again. In short, legislators used a shortcut to push SB 457 through the legislative process.
It’s clear, that the left and Streets for All have an open goal to “incentivize” Californians (with their own money) to walk, ride bikes, or utilize crappy public transportation under the guise of saving the planet and “equity.” What’s not clear is whether the climate activists will stop here. When SB 457 passes in California, look for more so-called car-free “incentivizing” bills to pop up in a state near you because, as we know from history, the left never stops with just California.