December 4, 2012: It didn't get much attention before the election, but Proposition 39 -- to increase state taxes on companies doing substantial business in California that are based outside the state -- passed overwhelmingly (61% yes; 39% no). Paul Rogers, reporting for Media News Group, calls the results "...a historic, largely overlooked environmental shift...[that] triggered a multibillion-dollar tidal wave of new green spending."
...the measure, buried in a crowded ballot, also required that half of that money fund projects to install new windows, better insulation, modern lighting and more efficient heating and air conditioning at thousands of public schools...
The initiative included an annual half-billion-dollar payout (a total of $2.75 billion before the legislation "sunsets" in 2018) to retrofit with energy efficient structures and processes schools (and government offices). (The other half-billion dollars expected in revenues coming from the tax hike will go to the general fund.)
As Kevin Yamamura indicated in the October 13 issue of the Sacramento Bee, there's plenty of green in green:
...Legislators decide how to spend the money under loose job-creation and cost-benefit guidelines, in consultation with state energy regulators and with review by a "Citizens Oversight Board."
Billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer, above, has financed most of the campaign with nearly $22 million. Steyer, a prominent donor, spoke at the Democratic National Convention last month on clean energy ideas. His San Francisco-based [$20 billion in assets] Farallon Capital Management has a broad range of investments, including oil and alternative energy companies, according to its latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing...
Steyer announced that he had sold his stake to his Farallon partners ten days later, on October 23, 2012, to focus on his philanthropic work that includes the nonprofit Center for the Next Generation (with the charming tagline "Too Small To Fail")...which backs programs for children and families, as well as efforts in advanced energy, according to Forbes, and to which Steyer donated $6 million.