By Shawnte Passmore

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A new ballot initiative is trying to push for cleaner air while preventing and suppressing wildfires in California – but who’s paying?

Protecting Mother Nature could soon be done by taxing the rich.

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The Clean Cars and Clean Air Act would impose a tax of 1.75% on Californians earning more than $2 million. Supporters say it’s needed to generate billions annually to combat the driving forces behind air pollution: transportation and wildfires.

“Here in Sacramento, we’re on the top 25 list for most polluted cities by ozone and particle solution,” said Will Barrett, a national senior director for clean air advocacy for American Lung Association.

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According to the plan, the tax revenue would be split three ways:

  • 45% for rebates and incentives to buy zero-emission and electric vehicles
  • 35% for charging stations
  • 20% to Cal Fire for wildfire prevention and suppression programs

Rideshare company Lyft is the biggest financial supporter, but not everyone’s on board.

“This is not a good recipe for economic recovery in the state of California, particularly as we’re on the verge of a recession,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

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So how likely is it that voters will see this measure come midterm elections? Based on collected signatures, supporters and critics agree on one thing: very likely.

Shawnte Passmore