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Andre Hollings: Feeling the local squeeze

Right here, right now

Posted: June 29, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2012 1:30 a.m.
 

Of several factors thwarting California’s private-sector job growth, AB 32 looms large. AB 32 is a cap-and-trade approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Essentially, AB 32’s implementation would necessitate emissions being capped at its goals. From there, proper levels would be apportioned and traded, market style, to foster the least expensive future reductions.
This 2006 statue obligates California resident and business use of cleaner, though remarkably more expensive, energy sources by 2020.


Sans knowledge of costs and objectives for achieving its goals, the Legislature passed AB 32 by a close margin.
Enforcement and regulation of this carbon dioxide-oriented law was given to an unelected board, the California Air Resources Board.


Void of legislative oversight or accountability, this board of bureaucrats was endowed with the power to tax. Summarily, AB 32 is a prime job killer. Its crunch on jobs necessitates an even greater flight of businesses from California than at present.


This proliferation comprises intellectual capital, innovation, entrepreneur, and state revenue. That trickles down to greater liberal demands for higher taxes and escalating government interference. Hence, diminished individual liberty because economic freedom has been stifled. Furthermore, while coping with expanding job losses, we will endure higher gasoline, natural gas and electricity costs due to AB 32. This at a time of high un-employment and home foreclosures.


Specifically, $500 million in new water fees and $4 billion in new carbon fees would be AB 32’s annual burdens for individuals and businesses.


Businesses abiding significant emissions — for example, power plants and factories — could pay billions under AB 32’s Auction Tax. Small businesses, according to the July 2009 Gov. Schwarzenegger-sponsored Sanjay Varshney and Dennis H. Tootelian study, would bear an estimated $50,000 additional strain.


That additional strain translates into an estimated annual forfeiture of gross state output of over $180 billion from small businesses alone.


The Varshney-Tootelian Commission furthear observes that families will bear new surging annual costs of nearly $4,000 due to AB 32. Surviving said cost increases, continued the commission, will demand that families reduce discretionary spending by 26 percent.


That forced spending reduction would be partly necessitated by AB 32’s gasoline standard at the pump; which would spawn $11 billion in higher gas prices.


Local governments would also be squeezed. Local government budget deficits could increase due to AB 32’s requirement of said governments to build developments adjacent to public transportation and businesses in order too lessen Californians’ commute.


From every angle, AB 32 would be an economic albatross for California businesses and residents. That said, what response is demanded?


AB 32’s implementation must be resisted by a philosophy that values individual liberty and the entrepreneurial instinct above servile and extreme adherence to misguided plunges at environmental utopias.


AB 32’s implementation denies individual liberty because it obstructs Californians’ right to the possession and free use of a chief property of man: the fruits of his labor. Our earnings are our property as much as land and home are.


It suppresses the entrepreneurial instinct by erecting government-sponsored roadblocks against our natural inclination too innovate and advance society.


In short, AB 32 demands a conservative counterattack.


Andre Hollings lives in Santa Clarita. Right Here, Right Now runs Friday’s in The Signal.

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