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Groups Call For Repayment Of $500M Loan To California General Fund

Aired 12/11/13 on KPBS News.

A coalition of business, environmental and local government groups is calling on California Governor Jerry Brown to repay a $500 million dollar loan from cap-and-trade carbon auction proceeds.

A coalition of business, environmental and local government groups is calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to repay a $500 million-loan from cap-and-trade carbon auction proceeds. The coalition said the money should go to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Lawmakers approved a one-time loan from the auction proceeds to the general fund last fiscal year. The governor is now preparing to release his 2014-2015 budget proposal in January. The coalition said the governor has a legal obligation to repay the loan and invest in programs that reduce carbon pollution. Bill Magavern with the Coalition for Clean Air said the repayment should happen if the governor truly believes in addressing climate change.

"Budgets show the state's policy priorities and the governor will not have credibility speaking on this issue if he does not follow the laws that are in place and use this money how it is intended, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Magavern said.

The California Assembly Speaker has also called for the loan to be repaid as quickly as possible. The Department of Finance said the focus of the budget should be on paying down debt and maintaining a prudent reserve.

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