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AB32: Report Forecasts Job Losses, But Governor Says Hogwash

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Thursday March 11th, 2010 | 0 Comments

A report from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office concludes that implementation of Assembly Bill 32, or AB32, would result in near-term job losses. But Governor Schwarzenegger isn’t buying it.

AB32, or the Global Warming Solutions Act,  was passed in 2006 and calls for reducing California’s emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020. But an opposition group, which calls itself the California jobs Initiative, is petitioning to have AB32 suspended. The group (which may be funded in part by oil companies) claims that the law would cost California “up to 1.1 million jobs, cost the average family $3,857 annually, add nearly $50,000 a year to the average small business’s costs.”

Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Fresno) asked the Analyst’s Office to analyze the net impact that AB32 would have on jobs in California, so Legislative analyst Mac Taylor penned a 10-page report that attempts to do so, using the AB32 Scoping Plan—the government’s blueprint for implementation of AB32—as its research material. (The LOA report mentions that Scoping Plan is currently being revised, but moved ahead with its analysis of the current Plan.)The present Scoping Plan estimates that AB32 would lead to a net increase in California jobs of %0.7 by 2020. The LOA calls into question the tenets of the Scoping Pan, which was developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). It then concludes that determining the number of job losses or gains resulting from AB32’s implementation is very difficult, but that that the impact would likely be negative, at least in the short term.

But as Jasmin Ansar, a climate economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, points out, the LOA report fails to provide any independent research to back its predictions that AB32 would hurt the state’s economy–while, on the flip-side, Ansar points to a number of studies showing that implementing AB32 should help the economy, while holding it could have negative impacts.

And KQED reported Tuesday that Governor Schwarzenegger refutes what he called “theoretical opinions” about jobs losses, saying he believes AB32 will lead to a net increase in jobs.

Opposition to AB32 is not new, and the costs of implementing it have been the key focus of opposition groups. But there is a new emphasis on the jobs angle in the current petition to suspend it—likely because job security has become such a major issue, here and everywhere. What is perhaps getting lost in all the static, however, is that—as an LOA staffer told KQED—AB32 isn’t a jobs bill.


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