California is about to waste $900m paying people not to own cars

Yes, this is actually a thing.

There are over 14 million automobile registrations in California. Californians love — and are dependent on — their cars.

A new initiative passed by the state legislature and on its way for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, is a radical strategy aimed at changing the car culture: rewarding low-income residents who live car-free.

SB 457 looks to pump the brakes on the romance, according to the Washington Post, and pay $1,000 to each household member that doesn’t have a vehicle registered.

Based on estimates of residents who qualify to participate, staff for the bill’s author, state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino (D-Burbank), claim it will keep 900,000 cars off the road, and cost state taxpayers $900 million a year.

It is just one of nearly 40 bills Newsom will sign into law as part of the California Climate Commitment, a $54 billion plan to fight climate change that exceeds what most countries are spending. It aims to advance economic opportunity and environmental justice in communities across the state.

While the bill pays low-income earners to not own vehicles, it also pays those who currently don’t own vehicles, calling into question how many net cars will be removed from the streets. Also, participants in the program will “self-certify” as to the number of people in their households without cars.

The program allows a credit for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2023, against the “net tax,” according to a press release from Portantino.

It’s a refundable tax credit for people getting the Earned Income Tax Credit and nonrefundable credits for households making less than $60,000 per year.

In a statement from his office, Newsom said, “Together with the Legislature, California is taking the most aggressive action on climate our nation has ever seen. Adding, “That’s climate action done the California Way – and we’re not only doubling down, but we’re also just getting started.”

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at This article originally appeared on RealClearPolicy. 

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