While California is experiencing tremendous growth and historically low unemployment rates, our state’s poverty rate is still the highest in the country. In fact, one of every five Californians today lives in poverty, including two million children.

CARB has to take into consideration all the households that are at and below poverty that will be impacted by this increase. Statistics show that Californians have paid $5.8 billion more for electricity than ratepayers in the rest of the country using the same amount of energy. 

As it stands right now many low-income Californians cannot afford to live near their places of work because the cost of housing is so high. Increasing transportation cost will have a significant impact on these households in my community.

I traveled to Sacramento in November to be the voice for my community at the California Air Resources Board hearing. It was my hope that the board would hear my plea on behalf of my community and understand that these are realities and daily struggles that we face and CARB’s policies directly impact us. Unfortunately, I left feeling that some of the board members were patronizing and did not believe I understood their proposal. I found this to be very offensive as I understand clearly what their proposal will do to further burden my community.

I’m here representing real people who live paycheck to paycheck and any increase in fuel cost could potentially force a family over the edge into further poverty.

The majority of the members of my local congregation and surrounding community already deal with escalated high gas prices as oppose to other areas of Southern California. I ask this board to please consider the multitudes that will definitely be impacted should the board decide to move forward with this. Consider single parent family homes, consider those who are the minority who are simply just getting by and cannot afford another price increase of any kind.

I ask our legislators to ensure CARB is following the legislative directive and the law. Containing cost for Californians is an important tenet to the cap-and-trade legislation and we encourage CARB to take our realities into account. Please note this increase will have a major impact on the seven million California families already struggling.