Folks at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are fond of saying that with the defeat of Prop. 23 a few years ago voters made it clear they supported the agency’s plan for implementation of AB 32, the state’s global warming law.

Under that presumption, CARB has charged full speed ahead with the development of an astonishing array of regulations designed to re-invent California’s energy platform and reduce global warming, with an equally astonishing price tag.

A new poll just released by the AB 32 Implementation Group should serve as a reality check for what is arguably the most powerful state agency in the nation, and the least inhibited by strict legislative oversight.

While a slim majority of voters surveyed indicated they support AB 32 itself, they sang quite a different tune when asked if they were willing to pay higher prices for electricity, gas, food and other essential commodities in order to fund CARB’s greenhouse gas reduction policies, such as its proposed cap and trade auction.

Two-thirds of poll respondents expressed unflinchingly intense opposition to the cap and trade auction, viewing it as a hidden energy tax costly to consumers and vulnerable to market manipulation by Wall Street bankers.

Only 39% said they were willing to pay more for a gallon of gas, and most of those were unwilling to go higher than 50 cents a gallon at most.

And they feel strongly that Californians alone in all the country should not be forced to pay higher prices for energy, goods and services while citizens elsewhere are free of this burden since their states have not adopted climate change policies remotely as ambitious as ours.

Members of small business organizations like the National Federation of Independent Business have known this for years, having followed closely the analyses of impacted stakeholders, the Legislative Analyst, independent economists and academics and even CARB’s own hand-picked advisors. They’ve concluded that as currently planned regulations such as the cap and trade auction will cost billions of dollars, displace workers and drive productive, tax-paying businesses out of the state in search of a regulatory environment in which they actually have a chance of staying in the black.

Without public support, AB 32 and the policies upon which its success depends are doomed to failure.  CARB would be wise to pay attention to how Californian’s really feel about AB 32 and take immediate measures to keep the costs in line.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 states. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at