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Treasurer Ma tours rPlanet Earth in Vernon

Treasurer Ma tours rPlanet Earth in Vernon, the only vertically integrated PET plastic recycling manufacturer in the world. The visit was part of a day-long up-close and personal tour of rPlanet Earth and three other innovate manufacturing businesses -- General Dynamics-NAASCO in San Diego, Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, and Trademark Brewing in Long Beach. Collectively, the four received more than $33 million in sales tax exclusions through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), whose board the Treasurer chairs. CAEATFA promotes high-tech and green manufacturing and recycling, providing select businesses with 100-percent sales and use tax exclusions on purchases of qualified tangible property over three years. A bill authored by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (AB 1583) and sponsored by Treasurer Ma, extends the program another five years and has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Green Bond Development Committee

The committee held its first meeting in June and its second in November. It is an ad hoc group appointed by the State Treasurer to promote and expand the use of green bonds for climate-resilient infrastructure in California. The wider use of green bonds will be a catalyst for greater investment in climate-friendly investments.

The intent of the Treasurer is to enlist persons with backgrounds in governmental finance, infrastructure development and finance, facilities management, climate- change accounting and measurement, environmental and finance policy, and related disciplines. Consistent with the Treasurer’s philosophy of inclusive and transparent government, the committee is designed to exemplify the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

It is anticipated that the committee will partner with other University of California and State of California departments to assist in the development, publicity, and implementation of strategies developed or adopted by the committee. It is expected to meet at least three times annually.

The committee has adopted a charter and approved a work plan. Members of the committee were deeply involved with the second annual Green Bonds California 2019 conference held in mid-October with the support of the Milken Institute. Results of this assembly will shape the conversation around the big issues and the strategies that can be deployed to grow green, social and sustainability bond markets exponentially in the coming years. Treasurer Ma was the keynote speaker at this event.

CalSTRS Headquarters Expansion

In December, the STO sold $272.6 million of lease revenue bonds to fund a cutting-edge expansion of California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) headquarters using innovative designs to achieve energy and resource savings while enhancing workforce well-being. The project is located in West Sacramento and designated “Green Bonds – Climate Bond Certified.” It will use green building practices, including green technologies, sustainable construction, energy conservation, and whole-building integrated efficiency measures, while also promoting employee wellness goals. The bonds will be issued by the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBANK).

Webinar Series

The California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC) held a three-part webinar series called Green Bonds in the Golden State: A Practical Path for Issuers. The program explained the risks and benefits of a green bond issuance and how to strike the proper balance between strong financial and environmental stewardship. It was produced in collaboration with the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. There were over 225 participants.

Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing Programs

In October, CAEATFA launched two new green energy efficiency financing programs to help California meet its ambitious climate goal of doubling energy savings by 2030. The Small Business Energy Efficiency Financing (SBF) program and Affordable Multifamily Energy Efficiency Financing Program (AMF) program are aimed at reducing the cost of financing energy efficiency improvements for small businesses, nonprofits, and owners of affordable housing. Such improvements range from HVAC systems, energy efficient appliances and lighting to manufacturing equipment and custom projects. In both programs, the state contributes to a loan loss reserve fund that functions as an insurance pool for the lenders, enabling them to offer better terms to borrowers, including lower monthly payments and broader eligibility. These two programs join the existing residential energy efficiency loan (REEL) assistance program, which hit a milestone of $10 million in financing residential retrofits. More information can be found at

Green Bond Sale for Rice Waste Recycling Plant

In August, the STO sold $73.7 million in tax-exempt green bonds for CalPlant I, LLC, a company that will turn rice straw into medium density fiberboard at its Willows plant in the Sacramento Valley. The fiberboard can be used in manufacturing flooring, furniture, doors, shelves and other products. The bond sale was authorized by the California Pollution Control Financing Authority (CPCFA).

Rice straw is a waste product created by approximately 500,000 acres of rice grown and harvested in California each year. Currently, most rice straw is eliminated by flooding fields and allowing the straw to decompose, which releases methane gas. The new plant will avoid that process for about 275,000 tons annually, and save an estimated 17.8 billion gallons of water and prevent about 57,000 tons of methane, a greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere.

Cleaner Burning Heavy-Duty Trucks

The California Capital Access Program (CalCAP), administered by the CPCFA, partners with lenders to finance cleaner heavy-duty trucks to transport goods throughout California. Funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the CalCAP program hit a milestone in November by supporting over 25,000 loans to small business owner-operators to upgrade their vehicles to cleaner fuel technologies in compliance with CARB’s Statewide Truck and Bus Rule. The exhaust from older diesel trucks including those manufactured before 2010 poses a significant health risk, especially to vulnerable populations who live along major transportation corridors. Cleaner diesel, compressed natural gas, hybrid and battery electric vehicles qualify.

Treasurer Ma chairs a meeting of the California Debt & Investment Advisory Commission

Treasurer Ma chairs a meeting of the California Debt & Investment Advisory Commission, one of 16 boards, commissions and authorities for which she is responsible.