I represent an alliance of
nearly 1,000 small, mainstream companies in California, who employ tens of
thousands of people around the state, and who are committed to pursuing clean
energy policies that help grow the economy and create jobs. Our network is made
up of businesses from all geographic regions of the state and includes owners
of print shops, restaurants, construction firms, and landscape companies; CEOs
of and investors in solar and renewable companies; leaders of chambers of
commerce and business associations; and more.
Many of our members would
certainly join the chorus of voices, led by John Kabateck of the National
Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), calling for California to become
more business friendly, but not if regulatory reform occurs at the expense of
moving forward with critical clean energy policies. It is this pursuit of clean
energy that is resulting in thousands of new jobs in energy efficiency,
construction, and manufacturing – and all of this job creation benefits the
very small businesses that NFIB represents.
I talk to business owners
daily – from places like Chula Vista, Brea, Palm Desert, Ventura, Truckee,
Fremont, Chico, Nevada City, and Fresno – many of whom have remade their
company operations to be more energy efficient, and whose bottom lines have
benefitted from their decisions. These business people are creating jobs and
stimulating innovation, and they recognize that even during these tough
economic times it is a false choice to suggest that we must choose saving our
economy over getting California past its expensive addiction to fossil fuel.
For more than 30 years,
California has been at the forefront of advancing clean energy policies, like
the landmark AB 32. Despite the claims, it is false to suggest that a pending
cap-and-trade system will be a costly mandate for small business, when we know
that implementation of this system won’t negatively impact small businesses as
two highly-regarded studies from The Brattle Group illustrated last year.
Mr. Kabateck mentioned
legislation that would have required small business representation on the
California Air Resources Board. The California Air Resources Board has two
board members with strong backgrounds and experience in business. Sandra Berg
is the Owner of Ellis Paint, founded in 1887 by the Ellis family, and remains
under Ms. Berg’s leadership as President. Also, Lydia Kennard is not only the
former Executive Director of the Los Angeles World Airports but she currently
serves as a director with an industrial real estate firm and an industrial
technologies company. Ms. Berg and Ms. Kennard are more than qualified to
represent a business perspective on the CARB Board.
There are small business
owners and entrepreneurs across California who believe that protecting jobs and
economic growth means support for energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean
vehicles, green buildings and other similar policies. It is time to move past
the rhetoric of pushing for "regulatory relief" and work toward real solutions
that help the business community without halting the economic progress spurred
on by our burgeoning clean energy economy.