Proposition 10, the California Alternative Fuels Initiative, like Prop 7 is focused on alternative fuels. Popular vernacular has labeled Props 7 and 10 as Big Solar and Big Wind, respectively.
The initiative authorizes $5 billion in bonds, to be allocated as follows:
- 58% in cash payments to purchasers of high fuel economy and alternative fuel vehicles;
- 20% in incentives for research, development and production of renewable energy technology;
- 11% in incentives for research and development of alternative fuel vehicle technology;
- 5% in incentives for purchase of renewable energy technology;
- 4% in grants to eight cities for education about these technologies; and
- 3% in grants to colleges to train students in these technologies.
According to the Leg Analysts’ Office, the initiative would cost the State about $9.8 billion over 30 years to pay both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($4.8 billion) costs on the bond.
Allison Hart, Mitzi Dudley and Thomas Daly filed the initial ballot language, but the most prominent and recognizable proponent is T. Boone Pickens, the backer of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CEFC), which has donated $3,747,250 to the effort. A fellow Oklahoman Aubrey McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy, has chipped in an additional $500,000.
Many have derided Pickens and Clean Energy Fuels for sponsoring this initiative because it may set up the company and Pickens for a financial windfall, though a CEFC spokesman has gone on record as saying "I don’t think it’s a given that Clean Energy is going to cash in. I wish it were that simple."
The sole registered opposition to the measure is "No on Proposition 10; Californians against the $10 Billion Lemon," who reports no financial activity through September 18.
Key Arguments for and against:
- Prop 10 will allow the generation of electricity from renewable sources, and provide consumer rebates for the purchase or lease of "clean alternative fuel vehicles".
- The fuding will allow the replacement of "older polluting diesel trucks with clean alternative fuel trucks" and provide for research into alternative fuels.
- The programs funded by Prop. 10 will help reduce dependence on foreign fuel produced by "hostile foreign governments."
- The proposition is a "laundry list of cash grabs" benefiting Pickens and others.
- Taking $10 billion out of the state's general fund over a 30 year period to underwrite the cost for individuals and businesses to purchase low-emission vehicles "is not a smart use of money" considering the state is "already sagging with debt".
- a shift to natural gas is "problematic in a lot of ways" including that "few mechanics know how to fix natural-gas engines and few filling stations offer natural gas."
- The proposition was initiated by one person/interest group and as such lacks the vetting that would have come had it gained input from a wider variety of sources.
So what do you think? Take a deeper look at the initative's finances here, or join one of the CalProps groups advocating for or against Prop 10: