If it’s true that states are the “laboratories of democracy” California’s cap and trade experiment should be considered a failed one and the federal government ought to think twice about implementing the same economy-killing measures across the nation. The Wall Street Journal has the story of a possible ballot measure to at least temporarily repeal California’s cap and trade carbon tax.
So Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue has begun collecting signatures for “The Global Warming Solutions Act,” a ballot initiative that would suspend California’s cap-and-trade scheme until the unemployment rate falls below 5.5%. He’s aiming to get it on the November ballot.
No matter what one thinks of climate science, it makes little sense for an individual state to unilaterally impose major new tax and regulatory costs on its own industries. The impact of California’s gesture on global temperatures will be infinitesimal, but the economic impact will make the state even less attractive to start or expand a business.
The law all but encourages outsourcing to Nevada, Texas, China and India. Even the liberal Sacramento Bee, which supports the law, says that policy makers should be “candid about the real costs of the transition it is contemplating. . . . Industries that are energy-intensive will move elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, a new study commissioned by the Governor’s Office of Small Business Advocacy estimates that the direct cost of current California regulation is $175 billion, or nearly twice the size of the state general fund budget and about $134,000 per small business each year. The Golden State already has the second most business-unfriendly regulatory climate in the nation, after New Jersey and before the cap-and-trade law.
The stakes here are huge, and not merely for California. This is the first serious effort to roll back the environmental extremism that has dominated state capitals in recent years and is now ascendant on Capitol Hill. The green lobbies and businesses that have a monetary stake in cap and trade—including big utilities that want subsidies and Silicon Valley political capitalists investing in solar and ethanol—are sure to spend heavily to stop it. They know that an electoral defeat in the greenest of states could end their national and global hopes for cap and trade.
For Californians the issue is simpler: Whether they want to continue to impose burdens that encourage employers to locate anywhere except their once prosperous state.
Be sure to note the big utilities that want subsidies. Ay, there’s the rub. It’s not just your typical greenies who would like industry to have stop progressing sometime in the last century, the real danger is the corporations that are looking for taxpayer funded subsidies and who will game the system to their advantage the taxpayer’s disadvantage. Sign the petition to oppose this next big government bailout here.