We all know about roads paved with good intentions.  Here’s another old saying: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  These adages are taking on brand new relevance these days thanks to our Democrat-dominated state government, which is using its single-party rule to undermine its own well-intentioned law.

The case at hand is the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act, more commonly known as AB 32.  AB 32 was touted as revolutionary legislation that would have California lead the rest of the world in adopting strict greenhouse gas emission regulations while prompting a plethora of wealth-generating, job creating alternative energy technologies.

In essence, AB 32 empowers CARB, the California Air Resources Board, to pass whatever fees and regulations the board deems necessary in order to reduce California’s total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  This mandate, its authors assured us, would trigger an explosion of new investment and jobs in California.

In order to reach its goal of greenhouse gas reduction, CARB will launch its first auction of emission allowances in just a few months.

It remains a mystery to most, however, what CARB is going to do with the fees it collects.

At the time AB 32 was being passed into law, then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez ,the bill’s author, assured his fellow lawmakers that the billions of dollars of anticipated fees collected under AB 32 would be limited strictly to the costs of administering greenhouse gas reduction programsThen-Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez’s speech at the 5:40 mark

As Californians have come to learn, promises and assurances don’t seem to matter much under the Capitol Dome.

There was some loose talk a few months ago from Governor Jerry Brown that he’d like to see the anticipated AB 32 fees get diverted to pay for his beloved High Speed Rail system.

But why stop there?

Ignoring the assurances of then-Speaker Fabian Núñez, current Assembly Speaker John Perez has taken Brown’s lead and introduced AB 32 amendments (AB 1532) for the purpose of removing language restricting how AB 32 proceeds are spent.

If the governor signs it into law, the AB 32 monies would simply be dumped into the state treasury and could be used for anything from paying old debts to buying more unused trucks to sit in some CalTrans service yard.

Gone are the promises of using AB 32 fees to fund reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Gone are the hopes of funding new investments in new carbon-reduced energy technologies.

In fact, with fees taken by Perez and AB 1532, all that’s left of AB 32 is the hope that somehow, mandating a massive cut in greenhouse gasses will magically inspire new technologies and innovation, even though no government mandate or regulation, ever, at any time, has led to an economic boon.

AB 32 was delivered with certain set of promises. But in the six years since it passed, efforts to reduce its potential to something that amounts to nothing more than a massive new limitless tax on nearly every aspect of our lives are everywhere.

Plans to use the funds for everything from transportation, housing, and food to job creating industries circle the capitol like vultures.  Proceeds from the tax, instead of going to alternative energy research and development, will now be tossed into the bottomless pit of state government spending.

Joel is also the Vice–Chair of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which deals with measures relating to state government organization, horseracing and gambling, the California National Guard, regulation of alcoholic beverages, the management of public safety emergencies and disaster response, and legislation permitting the use of state-controlled lands.  Joel also is a member of the Senate Health Committee, the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee and the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.