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Suspend AB 32 for the sake of Californias economy
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Would you be willing to bet everything you have on a single roll of the dice?  Would you bet everything that everyone in California has? The state is about to roll the dice, on global warming regulation. The Governor could stop this gamble, but will he?
The gamble is California’s ambitious global warming law, AB 32, passed in 2006. The law has a safety valve that allows the Governor to suspend emissions caps if economic conditions warrant it.
Most people would agree that the sour economy calls for delay in new costs and restrictions on employers. That leaves people to wonder when the economy will get better and whether AB 32 will help or harm.
“Though the state's economy will be growing, it won't be generating enough jobs to push the unemployment rate below double-digits until 2012,” said the most recent Anderson Forecast from the University of California, Los Angeles.  It predicts a slow recovery over the next decade.
Meanwhile, AB 32 promises new burdens on employers, such as “a schedule of fees to be paid by regulated sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”  Already cutting jobs to shave costs, employers will face a new cost and likely cut even more jobs.
Proponents claim that California will soon ride a wave of green jobs back to economic prosperity. Let’s not kid ourselves: AB 32 poses a significant financial burden, on businesses, local governments, schools and other organizations, that threatens far more jobs than it could ever hope to indirectly create. The rest of the states have declined to follow California, waiting for AB 32 to drive more jobs and investment to them.
Even before the full weight of AB 32’s onerous provisions began bearing down on California businesses, our state’s regulatory climate was notoriously hostile. Implementing it now, while the state is still feeling the effects of the worst recession since World War II, is economic suicide.
In order to meet the lofty goals of AB 32, Californians will have to shoulder enormous expenses. The government itself says so. A draft report by the California Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee (EAAC) says it could cost businesses and other entities that emit greenhouse gases between $48 billion and $143 billion to comply with AB 32’s mandates. The EAAC was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of Environmental Protection, Linda Adams, to advise the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on the economic impact of implementing AB 32.
The more than two million unemployed Californians cannot wait on the empty promise of “green jobs” materializing someday, eventually. The science supporting global warming is being called into question with increasing regularity, but the facts detailing California’s business climate are straightforward.
AB 32’s built-in safety valve allows the Governor to suspend the emissions caps and prevent significant economic harm.  It’s time for him to act to remove the single greatest roadblock to California’s economic revival. The alternative is an all-or-nothing gamble.
Do you feel lucky?
— Senator Jeff Denham represents the 12th Senate District