California green jobs program failing to meet expectations


A green jobs program in California is falling well short of the expectations initially set for it three years ago, The Associated Press reported Monday. 

The Clean Energy Jobs Act, a voter-approved program that raised taxes on corporations to fund energy-efficiency construction projects, has brought in less money than anticipated and has created only one-tenth the jobs its backers promised in 2012. 

California lawmakers directed the tax revenue raised by the program to clean energy projects at schools around the state, predicting it could create 11,000 jobs every year. But the program is so far responsible for only 1,700 jobs total, according to the AP. 

State officials told the AP they didn’t have details on the number of projects the program has been able to fund or the amount of energy savings it’s found. They also didn’t have information on the types of jobs created by the fund.

It's also bringing in less money than expected. When pushing the program ahead of its 2012 referendum, supporters said the fund would lead to $550 million in new clean energy spending, but it raised less than $280 million last year. 

School districts have applied for only have the money made available for efficiency upgrades, according to the report, and half the funding distributed so far has gone to consultants and auditors.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act won the backing of several high-profile environmentalists and lawmakers in California ahead of the referendum on it in 2012. Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer pushed the proposal hard, putting $30 million behind the ballot measure, which passed with more than 61 percent of the vote.

In a statement to the AP, Steyer reiterated his support for the program. 

“Proposition 39 has already accomplished its goal of protecting California jobs and employers by closing a corporate tax loophole for companies that ship California jobs to other states," he said.