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Analyst wants competitive process for clean-energy money

February 21, 2013|By Chris Megerian
  • Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal in January.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor discusses Gov. Jerry Brown's budget… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

The Legislative Analyst's Office is turning up its criticism of Gov. Jerry Brown's plans for clean energy funding.

Brown wants to increase energy efficiency at thousands of local schools with $450 million generated by Proposition 39, which changed the corporate tax code. But legislative analysts say that may not achieve the goal of maximizing energy savings.

The analysts originally expressed their concerns in a January report and expanded upon them in a new report released Thursday.

Instead of mandating that all the money goes to schools, the administration should set up a competitive grant program in which all government agencies could participate, the report said. That would let funding be used to increase energy efficiency at buildings like public hospitals, where savings could be greater.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, continued to defend the governor's plans. He said the proposal to use the money for schools “reflects the larger fact that education is the highest priority in the governor’s budget.”

He also said there was nothing wrong with allocating the money on a per-pupil basis, which the legislative analysts said ignores the fact that different schools have different energy needs.

“The needs will vary district to district, but there is a statewide need," Palmer said.

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Twitter: @ChrisMegerian

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