Stop the press: Air board admits AB 32′s downside, makes case (indirectly) for Prop. 23

In 2006, when the California Legislature was considering AB 32, Arnold was so worried that the bill forcing a shift to cleaner but costlier energy would harm the economy that he demanded it include a provision that would allow the governor to suspend the law during times of economic distress. Within three years, however, the lunatic idea began to spread from the green cultists to the regular media that AB 32 was actually a jobs program, not a dramatic government interference in the free market that would make energy much more expensive than in rival states and nations. The warning of U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was ignored in favor of happy talk. Now, thankfully, someone is admitting that what was obvious to Arnold in 2006 and to Chu in 2009 is still true in 2012. Shockingly, it’s the California Air Resources Board. What are the odds of that?

My evidence: John Howard’s excellent story in Capitol Weekly about the coming scrum over the billions to be generated by the fees companies pay to be allowed to emit air pollution:

But some [polution emission] allowances – perhaps half of all those available — will be given away, at least temporarily, based on a specific emitter’s efficiency.

In total, between 2012 and 2020, the ARB will make available up to 2.5 billion allowances, with roughly 50 percent auctioned and 50 percent given away for free, according to an LAO analysis. The use of free allowances is seen as a way of preventing so-called “leakage” – the departure of companies to other states.

As it turns out, all kinds of industries are at risk of “leakage” if energy costs go up. Here is a link to a Google search where the top result is a link to a 59-page PDF of an air board analysis of the “leakage” risk.

The PDF makes a great case for Prop. 23, the 2010 ballot measure that would have suspended AB 32 until unemployment went down but was lied to death by opponents and their media echo chamger

Will the Calbuzz guys notice this and apologize for their vapid 2009 claim that there is no downside to green regulations? Will the L.A. Times and Sac Bee finally get out of the green tank and admit that forcing California to have higher energy costs is not the equivalent of an economic stimulus plan?

Don’t hold your breath.

Back to the Capitol Weekly article. I know because he’s a neutral reporter he has to write it this way, but I bet Howard would have written this paragraph a lot differently if he were hooked up to a lie detector:

Over the next eight years, the quarterly auctions by some estimates are projected to raise between $8 billion and $41 billion, with the money going to everything from helping balancing the state budget to promoting the virtues of clean energy to giving breaks to millions of residential and commercial electricity customers.

Anyone who doesn’t think the great majority of this money will go to “help the kids” — that is, to preserve teachers’ jobs and fund their ridiculous step and column pay raises — isn’t just naive. He’s blind, deaf and dumb. The CTA loves itself some AB32, cuz AB32 is just the cash cow it needs to keep the broken education status quo in business for a few more years before there is finally a reckoning.

Outside authorities consistently say California has the first-, second- or third-highest paid teachers of any state, sharing the top three with New York and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, estimates of how much the state spends per student compared to the other 49 states varies from the mid-20s to the low-40s, depending on how it’s calculated.

But think about what those numbers reflect: Whether it’s the low end or the high end of that range for per-student spending, the fact that California’s teachers are among the highest paid shows that a greater percentage of education dollars almost certainly goes to teachers’ compensation here than in any other state. I can make this conclusion because New York and Massachusetts spend far more per student than California, by all measures.

So that’s why I am so sure fees generated by AB 32 will be coveted and probably mostly claimed by the CTA. The beast needs to be fed, and by any means necessary.

One thought on “Stop the press: Air board admits AB 32′s downside, makes case (indirectly) for Prop. 23

  1. well done, Chris…only CARB certainly doesn’t view extracting more dollars from the people as any kind of ‘downside’…;-)
    I recall the venom aimed my way and towards others when, back a couple of years ago, we were ‘rude’ enough to actually call this scheme “cap and tax”

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