California Jobs Initiative

The "California Jobs Initiative", which would suspend AB 32 – California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law created by the Global Warming Solutions Act – qualified for the November ballot on June 22, 2010. If this measure passes, AB 32 would be suspended and its regulations would be delayed until the state’s unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. AB 32 mandates that the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which backers of the initiative claim will hurt businesses and job creation. The ballot title of this initiative states: “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year. Initiative Statute.” The official ballot description is as follows:

“Suspends State laws requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until California's unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. Requires State to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential positive, short-term impacts on state and local government revenues from the suspension of regulatory activity, with uncertain longer-run impacts. Potential foregone state revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by state government, by suspending the future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations.”

It has been predicted that spending from both sides for this initiative could reach record levels.

Supporters: This initiative is supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Republican Party, GOP Assembly member Dan Logue, U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, and The California Manufacturers & Technology Association. For a full list of the measure’s supporters, visit the campaign’s web site. Supporting arguments have primarily focused on jobs, as supporters contend that AB 32 is a “job killer” and they have cited studies indicating that the state could lose 1 million jobs if it is implemented. According to campaign finance reports, two Texas-based oil companies have been the primary financiers so that the campaign could gather enough signatures.

Opponents: "Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs" is the group opposing this initiative. Governor Schwarzenegger has been a strong supporter of AB 32 and has criticized oil companies for getting involved in the campaign to finance this measure. The governor argues that AB 32 will not kill jobs, as it will create green jobs for the state. In a statement, the governor announced: “This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California's fastest growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies' profit margins. I will not allow this to happen on my watch."

The Courage Campaign and CREDO are also opponents of the initiative and have called for boycotts of Valero and Beacon gas stations to protest Valero’s financial involvement. Other opponents include the California Teachers Association, the League of Women Voters of California, and the Bay Area Council, among others. For a full list of opponents to the initiative, view the campaign web site for Stop Dirty Energy Prop.

Opponents of the measure want to preserve the state’s air quality standards and the campaign’s web site states, “The Texas oil companies’ initiative will allow polluters to avoid our state’s clean energy standards, kill competition and jobs from California's clean technology companies, and keep us addicted to dirty fossil fuels.”

You can read the full text of the initiative here.

The campaign web site in support of the measure is here.

The campaign web site opposed to it is here.  

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