If you were a typical California voter, you might be surprised to learn that the innocent-sounding "California Jobs Initiative" was funded by oil companies in Texas and has very little to do with jobs.
Prop 23 is in fact nothing more than an attempt to exploit the primary fear on the minds of every Californian — will the economy get worse? — for the purpose of killing the nation’s leading climate legislation.
California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, a whopping 12.3 percent in June 2010 with major metro areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles suffering much higher rates. What better time to strike fear in the hearts of normally progressive Californians by trying to trick them into voting for a bill that would essentially overturn AB32?
Orwellian is the only way to describe it. Far from a jobs killer, the climate bill is the state’s best hope for creating sustained, long-term job growth. It would mean thousands of jobs in the cleantech and energy sector and could, over the long haul, save taxpayers billions in rebate and energy efficiency programs.
It is being spearheaded by Valero and Tesoro, two refining companies that are actively recruiting additional oil companies to the anti-AB32 cause. According to a leaked PowerPoint presentation acquired by the Wonk Room blog, the oil companies are deeply concerned about the ripple effects of California's pioneering attempt to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s probably a safe assumption that the big oil companies backing Prop 23 hired the same PR firm that helped California energy giant PG&E come up with the equally sinister “Taxpayer's Right to Vote” which was a subversive ballot measure that required a two-thirds majority vote, essentially killing a law that allows individual homeowners the right to produce their own energy, a clear threat to the utility’s desired monopoly on renewable energy production in the state.
Prop 16 failed, despite a massive $46 million marketing budget, indicating that California voters are a whole lot more savvy than energy executives and subversive PR firms think they are. With Californians favoring AB32 two to one, let’s hope they these big energy companies once again feel the wrath of Californians who are tired of being bullied at the voting booth.