The African American business community has long been wary of California’s global warming law (AB 32) because of its potential negative impact on small businesses in the state.  A large percentage of African American-owned businesses fall into precisely that category.

Unfortunately, our instincts have proven correct.  The independent Legislative Analyst has determined that AB 32 will increase energy costs and result in lost jobs.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) itself has acknowledged that small businesses will be hit disproportionately hard since they typically spend a larger percentage of their budgets on utilities and fuel.

That’s why the Black Business Association, and African American organizations across the state, strongly support Proposition 23.  By temporarily suspending the state’s costly global warming law, Yes on 23 will save small businesses and families from the electricity, gasoline and natural gas cost increases that would occur if this flawed law were implemented.

Yes on 23 will also save jobs – more than one million of them – by keeping energy costs down.  With 2.3 million people out of work in this state, we need to do everything we can to save jobs.  That’s why we are proud to join with other organizations such as the California Small Business Association, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business in support of Proposition 23.

There is also growing support for Proposition 23 from cities and counties because according to the Legislative Analyst Yes on 23 will save local governments from the higher energy costs the global warming law would impose.  According to the Legislative Analyst, Proposition 23 also would improve the economy, which will help local governments facing budget problems.

And a recent study found that Yes on 23 would save the City of Los Angeles nearly $200 million per year.  Sacramento County would save over $70 million per year and the City of San Diego would save over $50 million per year.

These local government benefits mean that cities and counties will have more funds available to pay for vital public safety services such as law enforcement and fire protection.  It’s not surprising that the California State Firefighters’ Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League are among the public safety organizations supporting Proposition 23.

And this is important: while global warming is a serious issue, we need to understand what California can and cannot do to influence it.  According to CARB, California can’t solve global warming all by itself, and in fact can’t even make a difference in worldwide global warming emissions.  So what California small businesses and consumers are left with are higher energy costs and no measurable climate change benefits.

Equally important is the fact that Proposition 23 won’t in any way weaken or roll back any of the numerous clean air and water laws that protect our communities from smog-forming or other emissions that pose a risk to the environment or public health.

That’s why Proposition 23 just makes sense. It will save jobs that are in dire need right now, and keep down energy costs for small business, while maintaining existing laws that are vital for protecting the environment and public health.

Now more than ever, we need Proposition 23.