California Jobs Initiative Will Protect Jobs, Save Billions of Dollars

Dan Logue
California State Assemblyman representing the 3rd Assembly District

If
you had a choice between paying several thousand dollars a year in
higher utility, fuel, food and other costs, and temporarily postponing
an ineffective global warming law until the economy improves, it would
be a simple decision, right?

Well, thanks to the 800,000 voters who signed petitions to put the
California Jobs Initiative on the November ballot, voters will actually
have a chance to make that choice.

The California Jobs Initiative is a common-sense proposition that will
temporarily suspend implementation of AB 32, the state’s global warming
law, until our unemployment rate returns to a level closer to where it
was when the law was originally adopted by the Legislature.

If successful, the initiative will save over a million jobs and save
California businesses and families billions of dollars in higher energy
and other costs resulting from regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse
gas, or carbon, emissions associated with global warming.

Here’s why.  AB 32 requires a radical shift in where California gets
its energy, necessitating huge investments in alternative power sources
such as wind, solar, and hydrogen.  It’s estimated the transition will
cause gasoline and diesel prices to increase by $3.7 billion a year,
natural gas rates to go up by 57% a year, and electricity rates to rise
by up to 60%.

Other AB 32 regulations are expected to increase the cost of a new home
by $50,000 and add several thousand dollars to the price of a new car.
And the Air Resources Board is considering a cap and trade carbon tax
of $143 billion.

Those higher energy costs will translate to increased overhead for
businesses large and small, who will pass all or part of that cost onto
their customers in the form of higher prices not only for utilities and
fuel but just about everything we use on daily basis, such as food.

Those higher prices are likely to result in a downturn in business,
which in turn will lead over a million lost jobs, according to a recent
study.

It’s bad enough that these billions in higher costs and loss of a
million jobs would come at the worst possible time, considering there
are almost 2.3 million Californians already unemployed, our state’s
chronic $20 billion budget deficit and hundreds of billions in debt.
But AB 32, which was created specifically to help reduce global
warming, won’t make one bit of difference in terms of worldwide
greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Because global warming is a "global" challenge, and because California
accounts for a minuscule percentage of all greenhouse gas emissions, AB
32 on its own can’t make a difference in global warming.  The
California Air Resources Board itself has conceded:  "California acting
alone cannot reduce emissions sufficiently to change the course of
climate change worldwide."

And California indeed would be acting alone if we implement AB 32 as
currently scheduled.  Other states and other nations have dramatically
downsized their climate change plans in recognition of the fact that
their economies just can’t sustain the costs necessary to meaningfully
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I recently asked California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office
(LAO) to evaluate what the impact of going it alone with AB 32 would be
on our state’s economy.  The response was disturbing.

The LAO found that California-only implementation of AB 32 would be
likely to adversely affect California’s economy in the near term
because of the related energy price increases. This would in turn
result in higher prices for goods and services and reduced production,
income and jobs.

The LAO has reported elsewhere that suspending AB 32 would save local
governments and the state millions in costs, and prevent loss of tax
revenues as well.

One other important fact:  AB 32 deals only with carbon emissions,
which while associated with global warming present no threat to public
health or the environment.  California already has the strictest laws
in the county to protect our air and water from smog and other
pollutants, and those laws will remain intact under the California Jobs
Initiative.

Unfortunately the Governor, the Legislature and the Air Resources Board
have steadfastly refused to intervene in the timing of entirely
symbolic global warming regulations that could turn our state’s current
economic crisis into a permanent financial disaster.

That’s why the California Jobs Initiative is so important. It will
protect over a million jobs and save California families and businesses
billions of dollars in higher energy costs.  Considering we’d be
spending that money and sacrificing those jobs for a global warming law
that won’t do anything to reduce global warming, it should be an easy
choice for California voters.

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