But so far the state has been unable to deliver on those promises.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act closed a corporate tax loophole, with the money earmarked for energy-efficient projects for schools. But revenue has been trickling in at a lower rate than expected and much of what’s been handed out has gone to consultants.
Overall, Proposition 39 has generated about 1,700 jobs since voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative in 2012. That’s far less than the 11,000 jobs each year that the measure was supposed to create. Business groups who opposed the measure say they are not surprised by the discrepancy.
A new report by the Associated Press says the state has no comprehensive list of how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved. More than half of the $297 million given to schools so far has gone to consultants and auditors.
Meanwhile, the board that was created to oversee the project and report back to the Legislature each year has yet hold its first meeting.
The State Energy Commission – which oversees Prop 39 spending – says the program is on track. Officials say not enough data has been available for the board to meet yet. That first meeting is slated for October or November.
Prop. 39 was funded in large part by environmentally-minded Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer, with the support of Democrats statewide. Voters were promised it would send up to $550 million dollars annually to the Clean Jobs Energy Fund, but the actual total has been closer to $300 million.
In spite of the slow start, school district officials around the state say they intend to meet a 2018 deadline to request money for energy-saving projects, and a 2020 deadline to complete them.