Re “Spare us from these needless tax breaks” (Editorials, Oct. 5): AB 88 provides a sales tax exemption for energy- and water-efficient refrigerators and clothes washers that are provided free to low-income families through the Energy Savings Assistance Program. It includes an important provision, requiring the savings associated with the sales tax exemption to be invested to purchase and serve more low-income families. The Western Center on Law and Poverty joins the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, La Cooperativa Campesina and the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment and other groups in supporting this legislation because it helps to serve more low-income Californians.
There has been a false narrative in the Legislature that policies that are good for the climate are bad for poor people. A clean, healthy environment benefits everyone, especially the poor. When low-income Californians have access to more efficient equipment, they not only help contribute to efficiency, they also save money in their water and electricity bills.
As the leading advocates for poor Californians in the state’s capital, Western Center on Law and Poverty doesn’t support many tax breaks, which tend to only broaden the economic divide in our state, already one of the most unequal in the country. But AB 88 offers us a win-win, strengthening a private-public partnership that works to support conservation among poor Californians while saving them money. The bill also contains a five-year sunset. The legislation does not affect any past actions taken by the Board of Equalization, as supposed by the editorial. In fact, the board currently supports the legislation and has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill.- Jessica Bartholow, Sacramento