Alternate Opinion: Prop 23 is Good for California

Editor’s Note: We have been running posts about California’s Prop 23 for the last 2 weeks and have been approached by some folks who believe differently than we do. In the interest of editorial completeness, today we are offering another point of view on Proposition 23, offered by Tom Tanton, President, T2 & Associates

When Californians take to the polls on November 2nd, the ballot measure known as Proposition 23 offers voters a real chance to improve the state’s economic future. This initiative would suspend the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, legislation passed in September 2006, commonly referred to as AB 32.

Passing Proposition 23 is a necessary step to getting California back on the track to prosperity and, more specifically, significantly improving the bleak job and fiscal situation currently plaguing the state. California’s unemployment rate now stands at 12.4 percent – that exceeds the national unemployment rate by more than 25 percent. In addition, here in California, we are 97 days into the state’s fiscal year. And the health of the state’s treasury is hurting, badly. With a budget deficit of over $19 billion, California needs pro-growth policies that strengthen balance sheets, create jobs and attract new businesses to the state. Our climate change law does the exact opposite. David Crane, special assistant to Gov. Schwarzenegger, mentioned during a speech to an investor forum in Silicon Valley this past June that it does not do anything for the climate either.

If Proposition 23 is passed, it will save many local jurisdictions – such as cities, counties and fire departments, among others – currently on the brink of bankruptcy. This measure will help budgets currently in the red by increasing revenues without raising taxes, and by implementing energy cost savings, to the tune of one to seven percent of their current budgets, saving teachers and firemen and police. This may seem like simple economics to some, but others are fighting tooth and nail against this straightforward, pro-growth proposal. And a recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that voters are effectively split on the proposition.

Opponents of Proposition 23 have consistently slandered this ballot initiative, calling it the “Dirty Energy Proposition”. It is important to point out, however, that supporters of Proposition 23 are a cross section of California. Supporters include a broad coalition of small businesses, non-profit groups, labor groups, community organizations and individual citizens that are right to advocate for the net increase in overall economic activity and lower energy costs that Proposition 23 will provide.

At the end of the day, California simply cannot afford an experiment of this scale, one that has drastic economic implications for every business and consumer statewide. Policies like AB 32 have failed in every other place they have been implemented, most notably in Europe. Across the Atlantic, enacted cap-and-trade systems have not only failed to hit emissions reduction targets, but also have created substantial energy price volatility. Proposition 23 provides the time necessary to implement global warming laws correctly, not as they currently are.

The challenges facing California’s economy and environment are great. But one solution is clear. We need to improve productivity across the state and enact policies that re-invigorate fiscal stability and return California to its previous status as a place where businesses use to flock. If Proposition 23 is rejected next month, however, there is no telling how long it will take to put Californians back to work.

Mr. Tanton is President of T 2 & Associates, a firm providing consulting services to the energy and technology industries. T 2 & Associates are active primarily in the area of renewable energy and interconnected infrastructures, analyzing and providing advice on their impacts on energy prices, environmental quality and regional economic development. You can follow him on Twitter.

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11 responses

  1. The California Jobs Initiative (CJI) is an oil corporation farce and fraud. There is no connection, whatsoever, between greenhouse gas emission reduction and the loss of jobs. This notion is an insult to the intelligence of the people of California. In fact, there is job growth in the clean, renewable energy industry. Chevron employs 65,000 worldwide and CJI is not going to change this. The only jobs created by the oil industry are clean-up jobs after oil spills and deep water, blow-outs and pump-handler jobs. CJI will make fantastic profits for the oil industry, increase air pollution, especially in communities around their refineries and there will not be lower gas prices. Koch Industries, Valero and Tesoro are super Enrons. Since when did the oil companies start to show any concern for the unemployed and their families and for small businesses?

  2. I’m sure this commenter means well, but Prop 23 would remove a significant growth engine from California that other states do not have. This is why the No on 23 ads are funded by California’s clean energy industry, while the Yes on 23 ads are funded by Texas dirty oil.

  3. Sure, we’re in a lousy economic situation, and corruption and and wild entitlements (mostly caused by Democrats) are a big part of the problem. But don’t you think a little pain now will pay off later? It just seems REALLY DUMB to throw away all the new companies that are cropping up all over the stat in new, cleantech industries in favor of a short boost for refinery employment. I’m not convinced, still voting NO on 23

  4. While Prop 23 suspends AB32 until unemployment reaches 5.5%, it does not provide any way of actually reaching 5.5% except to use flowery language specifically written to fool voters into voting yes. It does nothing to lay a plan out, just stops out-of-state oil company’s in-state competition. How exactly is this supposed to provide jobs in CA if CA industries are stopped dead in their tracks? All Prop 23 does is opens the door for out-of-state companies to continue business as usual. (Which is pollute, kill the environment, and keep a consistent, not expanding, job force OUT OF STATE).

    Does anyone ever stop to wonder why no in-state oil companies aren’t supporting this (Grist has a good article on Chevron, if interested) but out-of-state companies and the Koch Bros are? Makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it? They just don’t want CA green economy to succeed because if it does, their states could be next to line up for REAL growth without killing the Earth (and filling our cities with smog).

  5. Tesoro and Valero employ thousands of people in California, and in locations all over the country. Tesoro has two refineries in California and Valero also has two. They may have their headquarters in Texas, but you can hardly call them outsiders.

  6. Others have found differently:

    According to the nonpartisan State Legislative Analyst, the suspension of AB 32 could: “dampen additional investments in clean energy technologies or in so-called “green jobs’ by private firms, thereby resulting in less economic activity than would otherwise be the case.”

    By keeping us dependent on fossil fuels, this initiative would increase household electricity costs in California by 33%….and leave consumers susceptible to oil shocks.

    Find out why prop23 is BAD for California:

    1. The Legislative Analysts has noted the drop in investments in green tech should prp 23 pass, but also note the more massive loss in jobs should it fail. The LAO concluded that on net PROP. 23 is GOOD for the economy. To suggest otherwise is fibbing. Unless you tell the whole story about the pr0position, you’re not helping.

    1. Actually the post is “curtesy” of the state retirement system, as I was not paid for it, am semi-retired and receive most of my funding from my 28 years at California Energy Commission, including years as principal policy advisor.

  7. Do not be decieved yes takes away power from an already greedy and wasteful California Government .. which is why the labor unions want it to fail ..
    Interesting enough the data to justify AB 20 was submitted by a supposed graduate from UC Davis… not only didn’t he have a degree the head of the department wh osubmitted these skewed findings knew he wasn’t. This should scare the bejesus out of you … Do the oil companies benefit.. of course.. as we all do financially … unfornately they are the only ones with pockets deep enough to fight the California Unions. .. All I ask is that you look into what I am saying before you throw up a snide remark.

  8. The key thing to keep in mind is that, according to CARB, the organization who wrote and will enforce AB32, AB 32 will do NOTHING to help global warming, will cost jobs and have a negative effect on the economy. This comes from the very people who drew it up!

    AB 32 does nothing for local pollution.

    Prop 23 leaves us with the toughest pollution laws in the country, among the toughest in the world. It will NOT increase local pollution

    If Proposition 23 is rejected, here is what will happen according to expert sources:

    •A 60 percent increase in your electricity bill according to the Southern California Public Power Authority.

    •An 8 percent increase in your natural gas bill according to CARB’s economic analysis.

    •$50,000 more for the price of a new home according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    •$3.7 billion a year more for gasoline and diesel according to Sierra Research.

    •A $1,000-$3,000 additional cost for a new car according to CARB and automaker studies.

    On top of all that, a study conducted for the California Small Business Roundtable found that AB 32 regulations would cost small business alone nearly $200 billion, and would result in more than 1 million lost jobs.

    The more I learn about AB 32, the more I fear it. It just gets worse. Please vote yes on Prop23.

    “”2 Guys on the Bay Area Transportation Board told the CARB people, “If you try to do what you are going to do(AB 32) we’ll have gas at $9.07 a gallon and we have freeway tolls at up to $4,500 a year to drive during rush hour.”

    “Part of the plan is to stop suburban development, get people to stop driving, make driving too expensive for people to live out there, force them to live in high-rises, condos, in the city.”

    For months, John and Ken have made Prop 23 their top priority, calling it a necessary step to stop a law they say will kill jobs and cost Californians a fortune in higher gas and energy prices. With an estimated one million listeners per week, these two guys usually manage to rally enough votes to get their way.

    The video has John and Ken explaining why they think this bill is the most important measure on the ballot.

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