Capitol Alert

California cap-and-trade program generates more than $1 billion. Who gets the money?

Gov. Jerry Brown raises the signed bill extending the cap-and-trade climate change program until 2030 on July 25, 2017 on Treasure Island.
Gov. Jerry Brown raises the signed bill extending the cap-and-trade climate change program until 2030 on July 25, 2017 on Treasure Island. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Yesterday’s carbon permit auction, the first since California extended its cap-and-trade system through 2030, was among the most successful the state has held in the program’s five years.

After several quarters of anemic auction results, businesses bought $935 million in credits to emit polluting greenhouse gases.

That will provide a healthy chunk of change for California’s greenhouse gas reduction fund: about $640 million to finance the high-speed rail and other projects intended to curtail the state’s carbon footprint. With a large balance already sitting in the account, a legislative analysis estimates that there will be more than $1.4 billion available to spend in the 2017-18 budget year.

And everyone is going to want a piece of that pie.

Firefighting organizations are in Sacramento today calling on the Legislature to commit some of the money to response efforts for natural disasters such as wildfires, which have been exacerbated by climate change. Representatives from the California Fire Chiefs Association and California Professional Firefighters, among others, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on the south steps of the Capitol.

Another issue still to be worked out: covering the cost of eliminating the fire prevention fee and expanding a manufacturer tax credit, sweeteners that were dangled to secure Republican votes for the cap-and-trade renewal. Those will paid for with auction revenue, but how it’s doled out could mean more or less for other legislative priorities.

Lawmakers intend to pass an expenditure plan before the end of session next month; the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation will discuss its proposal at 9:30 a.m. in Room 447 of the Capitol, while a Senate hearing is set for Thursday.

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WORTH REPEATING: “This is a national concern...that deserves more attention.” – California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, on federal immigration enforcement at local courthouses

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: It’s that time of year when advocacy groups flood the Capitol, trying to keep attention on their issues so they don’t get lost amid the crush of bills that lawmakers will consider before the end of session. Proponents of Assembly Bill 249 will join half a dozen legislators, including author Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, to urge a vote for the measure requiring more disclosure of who paid for political advertisements, 11:45 a.m. in Capitol Park near 12th and N streets. Following Monday’s massive free Common concert, supporters of overhauling California’s bail system plan to rally again on the north steps of the Capitol at noon for Senate Bill 10. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and faith leaders from across California are set to hold a “people’s hearing” on Senate Bill 54, which would prohibit state and local law enforcement from collaborating with federal immigration authorities, 11 a.m. in the basement of the Capitol.

SOMETHING IN THE WATER: Contamination from agricultural runoff has left many poor California communities that cannot afford expensive, high-tech treatment systems without reliable access to clean drinking water. A new proposal from Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would finance clean water projects in those areas through a fee on fertilizer sales, milk manufacturers and ratepayers. Monning will unveil the agreement with farming groups and environmental justice organizations, Senate Bill 623, at a press conference on the east steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m.

BOSS OF ME: A state audit in April called out California State University for failing to adequately justify growth in its management ranks, with hiring and salary increases that far outstripped those for faculty and support staff. The report, which was requested by the CSU Employees Union, echoed longtime complaints from the labor group about administrative bloat at the university. Legislative committees on audits, higher education and the budget will jointly hold an oversight hearing on the findings, 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol.

PLAY THE GAME: In summers past, legislative Democrats and Republicans have taken their political rivalry to the softball diamond for a charity match. They’ll square off tonight instead on the soccer field for the first ever Capitol Cup. The event, benefiting the women’s shelter Saint John’s Program for Real Change, takes place at 5:30 p.m. at Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo. Are you #TeamDem or #TeamRep?

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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