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Our View: Prop. 23: Save economy from further chill

2010-09-21 00:50:21

There are more than a million reasons, if you count potentially lost jobs, to vote for Proposition 23 on Nov. 2.

From its petition-signing days to qualify for the ballot, we have editorially supported the proposition to delay implementation of the state's economically damaging Global Warming Solutions Act until California unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Unemployment has been above 12 percent for more than a year; it hit 12.4 percent for August.

We prefer permanent repeal of the 2006 law. For now, we urge a Yes vote on Prop. 23, in order to at least delay the disastrous economic effects and infringements on private-sector freedoms.

Known by its legislative short-hand as AB32, the law would hand over to the Air Resources Board's unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats authority to impose regulations on California businesses, ostensibly to curb manmade greenhouse gas emissions, which some scientists claim cause global warming. At best there's a weak cause-and-effect relationship between manmade greenhouse gases, which are minuscule compared with naturally occurring greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and increased temperatures, which have risen slightly and well within historic parameters over the past century. Moreover, as carbon dioxide levels soared during the past dozen years, temperatures should have soared, too, according to the global warming theory. Instead, temperatures have leveled off, if not declined.

This is a shaky foundation on which to restructure California's economy, already staggered by deep recession and a weak recovery. University studies estimate the regulations will result in more than 1 million lost jobs over time. We hear Prop. 23 proponents argue, in excited tones, that AB32 will make California the leading edge for green energy innovation and investment. The claim is simply not true. The state's independent Legislative Analyst Office concluded that so-called "green jobs" that might be created once the law is fully implemented won't offset jobs lost from the costs of regulation. Energy costs and taxes also can be expected to increase dramatically.

The state overreached with AB32 and is poised to do great economic harm and infringe as never before on private sector liberties. We urge a Yes vote on Prop. 23 to at least delay that damage.

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