When are the politicians going to figure out that families and small businesses are barely making ends meet, and we cannot afford anymore electricity rate increases – especially for regulations that have no benefits?

Shame on them for telling us that the state’s global warming laws won’t cost families and small businesses a dime, when their own studies show that they would increase electric rates by 30 percent to 60 percent.

Recently, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the bureaucrats over at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power tried to ram through the first 30 percent rate hike to pay for the direct regulations contained in AB 32, or California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.

A huge thank-you to the members of the Los Angeles City Council who stood up and said no, ultimately bringing the approved rate increase to a more palatable 4.5%. Your vote was a much appreciated message to the people of this community that you understand the dire economic times we’re living in.

But this rate hike for AB 32 is just the first of many increases that will be necessary to implement this very flawed law. According to the Southern California Public Power Authority, of which the DWP is a member, the proposed AB 32 cap-and-trade auction program would increase rates by an additional 30 percent.

Electricity rate increases are by their nature very regressive and will hurt low-income families the most. Small businesses could face thousands of dollars of additional costs at a time many of us are simply trying to keep the lights on and the doors open.

What’s sad is that these electricity rate increases and the other energy cost hikes AB 32 will impose, like higher prices for gasoline and diesel, won’t do a thing to decrease global temperatures. They will have no global warming benefits.

The governor and mayor say that’s OK because AB 32 will have symbolic benefits. I love symbolism as much as anyone, and when the economy was riding high and unemployment was low, maybe we could afford such gestures.

But people are suffering real pain. More than 2 million people are out of work, thousands have lost their homes and most folks are living paycheck to paycheck. We can’t afford these rate hikes now and we can’t afford the law that is forcing them down our throats.

Enrique Aranda is a small-business owner in the South Bay and a board member of COFEM (Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamerica), a Latino community organization.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.