Supposedly climate-friendly Governor Newsom’s campaign just gave nearly $1.9 million to defeat Prop 30, the millionaire tax that would help fund California’s total conversion to electric cars only.
Last week we reported that Silicon Valley billionaires and hundred-millionaires were contributing vast sums to defeat Prop 30, the electric car-funding measure on Tuesday’s ballot that would levy a 1.75% tax increase on Californians who make more than $2 million a year, though taxing only the amount they make above $2 million, to subsidize Californians’ purchases of zero-emission electric vehicles. (It would also help build charging stations and increase funding for wildfire-fighting.) That measure is the only state ballot measure that Governor Gavin Newsom has weighed in on, cutting the commercial below against the tax increase for millionaires which you may have seen on television.
But in the eight days since SFist posted that article, the battle against Prop 30 has received even larger donations than any tech founder oligarch has given. As SFGate reports, the Gavin Newsom for Governor campaign donated $1.86 million to the No On Prop 30 campaign. (If you’re unawares, Newsom is actually up for reelection Tuesday, in a cakewalk so automatic that he's hardly had to touch his $23 million war chest.)
The Newsom contributions came in on Monday and Tuesday of this week. You see three of them above, and SFGate adds that “Newsom’s ballot measure committee also lodged a separate $250,000 donation against Prop 30 on Oct. 31, bringing his total opposition to $1,867,216.88.” Newsom is clearly against the measure, despite his own move to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, and the measure would help Lyft comply with no investment by Lyft.
A few other notables have also donated to the No On Prop 30 campaign since we posted our article last Thursday: Napster bro and obscenely expensive wedding enthusiast Sean Parker gave $350,000 to beat back the wealth-tax measure, GOP donor and recall-aholic William Oberdorff gave another $250,000 in addition to $100,000 he’d already donated, and actor Rob Lowe donated $1,000 against the measure. Say it ain’t so, Rob Lowe!
Or sure, say it is so, Sodapop. This is a big money measure on both sides, the easiest way to explain is with a CalMatters graphic showing that Yes on Prop 30 has raised $48.3 million ($46 million of it just from Lyft), while No On Prop 30 has raised a lesser $31 million. There is likely little altruism here, just rich people looking after their own money, and Lyft is probably just doing this so someone else will pay for their drivers to upgrade to electric cars by 2035.
But will Lyft even exist in the year 2035? I’m no spring chicken, so I remember plenty of “can’t fail” tech companies like AOL, Theranos, WeWork, and Munchery, and what happened to them all. And if Lyft drains its coffers winning climate-friendly subsidies for everyday Californians, while not even surviving long enough to enjoy those indirect subsidies? That might just be the noblest demise of a tech company in recent memory.
Related: Prop 30 Oddly Pits Lyft Against Silicon Valley VC Billionaires in Electric Car Battle [SFist]
Screenshot via Youtube