Give voters a voice in global warming policy
|By: Jon Coupal
Monday, March 22, 2010
Voters should have a voice in the decision on how to best implement
AB32, the state's global warming law. That's why the Howard Jarvis
Taxpayers Association is supporting the California Jobs Initiative, a
November ballot measure which will adjust the timetable activating
expensive AB32-related regulations.
Moving ahead with AB32 at this point in time will do nothing to slow
global warming, but it will cost Californians billions in higher taxes
and more expensive energy at a time of record-high unemployment and a
Climate change is a planetwide challenge and must be addressed as such.
The California Air Resources Board acknowledges this, stating in its
AB32 Scoping Plan: "California cannot avert the impacts of global
climate change by acting alone."
Unfortunately California is acting alone, recklessly pursuing
multibillion-dollar climate-change programs while other states and
other countries protect their economies from precisely the type of
economic disruption associated with AB32 by taking a dramatically less
The "economic fears" regarding AB32 that The Chronicle dismisses in its
March 10 editorial calling on voters to reject the petitions are in
fact well founded and originate with reputable agencies and economists.
Here are some examples of what AB32 will cost consumers:
-- Up to 60 percent higher retail electricity rates (Southern California Public Power Authority);
-- 8 percent increase in natural gas costs (California Air Resources Board);
-- $3.7 billion in higher gasoline and diesel costs (Sierra Research);
-- Possible $143 billion auction tax to offset AB32's higher energy
prices and job losses (CARB Economic Allocation and Advisory Committee).
And while estimates vary as to their extent, it's clear that jobs will be lost as a result of AB32.
A couple of other important considerations:
Placing AB32 on a more fiscally responsible timetable should not
prevent Silicon Valley venture capitalists or other entrepreneurs from
investing their own money in so-called green businesses. From a
free-market perspective, if green tech is a viable business strategy,
green businesses shouldn't have to rely on government mandates and
AB32 won't do much for job creation in the near term, either, contrary
to AB32 proponents' claims. California's nonpartisan Legislative
Analyst's Office reports that the California Air Resources Board has
estimated AB32 would only generate a net increase of less than 1
percent in the level of employment in 2020. That's cold comfort for the
2.2 million workers currently on California's unemployment rolls.
The legislative analyst also warns that because of AB32's substantial
up-front costs, some companies "might go out of business, cut back
operations or choose to relocate elsewhere," and that AB32
implementation will "involve various workforce labor dislocations,
including temporary job losses and unemployment for some people and
permanent unemployment and income disruptions for others."
The California Jobs Initiative will not suspend or repeal environmental
regulations that already protect our air and water. But it will protect
jobs by aligning California more closely with other states and
countries in a fiscally responsible approach to climate change policy.
Placing the initiative on the ballot will give voters a voice in an
issue that will directly affect their pocketbooks and quality of life
for years to come.
Sign the petition.
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
This article appeared on page A - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle