Global warming law may be profitable for California


By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News

For the past 10 years, California has struggled with huge budget deficits and wrenching cuts. Suddenly, however, the state is poised to raise billions from an unusual new source: the proceeds from its landmark global warming law.

The windfall could come as soon as this fall, when state officials are set to begin auctioning off pollution credits to oil refineries, power plants and other major polluters as part of a new “cap-and-trade” system.

The amounts are potentially enormous: from $1 billion to $3 billion a year in 2012 and 2013, jumping to as high as $14 billion a year by 2015, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office. By comparison, the state’s current budget deficit is $9 billion.

But like thirsty castaways on an island surrounded by ocean water they can’t drink, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators face strict constraints on how they can spend the money. More than 30 years of court rulings and ballot measures — dating to Proposition 13 in 1978 — limit its use, probably only to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To add another hurdle, major business groups are preparing lawsuits, arguing that the state cannot collect the money at all.

Still, Brown and others in the Capitol are cautiously making plans. On Monday, the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority slipped into a news release that the money would be used as “a backstop” that could save the struggling bullet-train project.

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And in a follow-up interview with this newspaper, Dan Richard, chairman of the rail authority, asserted that a large portion of the money could go to fund high-speed rail.

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Comments (6)
  1. dogwoman says - Posted: April 13, 2012

    So it isn’t really about “fixing” global warming. It’s about government charging companies real money for fantasy “carbon footprints”. As if it’s theirs to sell!
    What a racket!

  2. Gus says - Posted: April 13, 2012

    Tax…tax…tax…until every industry moves out of the state and the only ones left are too poor to tax. Then, finally then, we’ll see California for what it is, a do good socialist nanny state with an endless hunger for power over everyone’s lives.

  3. Tim says - Posted: April 14, 2012

    It’s funny. They look at the “income” that comes in from taxing these businesses, but fail to take into account all the money lost when businesses get smart and move to another state…here we go again Greece…I mean California.

  4. Mark says - Posted: April 14, 2012

    Ditto, ditto, ditto all the comments above! These observations were the same I had the instant I read about this new California tax. Who are we kidding when the state does this short kind of sighted scam, even if a few industries do stay, all will pass the tax along to the end consumer anyway. I am “almost” amazed by the lack of commentary from the main stream press on this fact – are they really this oblivious to reality?

  5. earl zitts says - Posted: April 14, 2012

    Moscow east will not stop until all your life and property is totally and completely under their control. A nibble here, a nibble there of your freedom and liberties and after a while you become a good soldier of the state.
    Mao, Joe, and Schikelgruber couldn’t be happier with the scondrals in Moscow east. This is just the end of the beginninbg.
    How about the proposed law to legalize illegals in CA if there is a shortage of available workers. In this semi-failed tourist town our workers may become victims if this law passes.

  6. Kirk says - Posted: April 14, 2012

    CA already has some of the highest tax rates in the country. So the Nannys in Sacto pass more taxes to business, business passes the cost to us, and we pass it to…..oh yeah, nobody.
    But let’s make sure that dumb ass train project is on time!!! Would someone please teach these idiots how to balance a checkbook?