Although AB32 will have a huge impact on California’s business community, the pain won’t stop there. Those who might get hit hardest are low- and middle-class families. At a time when they struggle to put food on the table, implementation of AB32 would drive up the cost of utilities, food and fuel, among other expenses. It would also eliminate numerous well-paying blue-collar jobs and send families into further financial crisis.
Another unintended consequence will be the effect of these regulations on local governments, which could face a double whammy. As businesses downsize or close down and joblessness increases, tax revenues decline. At the same time, AB32’s higher energy costs will put additional strain on already strapped municipal budgets as cities must pay more to fuel police, fire and emergency medical vehicles and keep the lights on in our public facilities.
CARB has remained steadfastly unresponsive to persuasive arguments presented by the business community.
Ironically, that posture may lead to the success of AB32, albeit in a way the law’s authors could not have intended. Both studies concluded that the emission reduction goals set forth by AB32 will be achieved mostly through reduced manufacturing and a slowing of the economy, not new technologies.
One thing is for sure. Absent legislative intervention, AB32 will drastically obstruct California’s economic recovery and might trigger a new recession unlike any the state has ever seen.
Randy Gordon is president and chief executive of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.