California’s “green jobs” snow job

Jan. 5, 2010:

As a news reporter and columnist for CalWatchdog, my focus is reporting stories that do not get sufficient coverage and to expose the waste, fraud and misuse of taxpayer funds buried in legislation and political practices in the state. A good example: the “green” economy in California and the “green jobs” that are not the panacea for economic recovery, as everyone from the governor to most of the media, would like us to believe. Green jobs comprise barely 1 percent of all the jobs in the state.

As the climate change debate continues and the scientific data continues to be questioned by many scientists, “green jobs” are looking more questionable in a state that already is approaching a bankrupt level of financial disaster.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, green jobs are those jobs found in companies that retrofit homes for energy efficiency, manufacture parts for renewable energy systems, build electric cars or process advanced fuels. However, the Environmental Defense Fund also states on its Web site, “Don’t let special interests hijack America’s clean energy future.”

But who is hijacking what?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state into law in 2006. Schwarzenegger, echoing the view of green proponents, pronounced, “The regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy and technological leadership.”

Instead, since 2007 – in anticipation of the new mandates – California has led the nation in job losses,” according to Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore.

California’s tough regulations created a state cap-and-trade system that limited the CO2 trucking companies, utilities, manufacturers and other businesses can emit, and imposed hefty new taxes on companies that exceed the unrealistic caps.

Green jobs in California seem to rely solely on government grants and the use of taxpayer dollars, and not in the actual creation of manufacturing jobs. An employer need only adopt “green” practices such as recycling and using environmentally friendly materials, pay a substantial fee to a “green” certification company, and an existing company is classified as “green,” without hiring any additional employees.

The environmentalists and climate-change proponents in the green movement have insisted for years that their science is exact, yet recently prominent green-movement scientists’ emails were leaked to the media – exposing a decade-long cover up of science that did not fit the “green” agenda, and causing many people to question the validity of global-warming data.

With Schwarzenegger continuing to advocate more green legislation in spite of the exposed falsified science, the economic costs are proving to be substantial – and not saving or creating jobs or the environment, as predicted.

Any increase in energy costs acts as a drag on the overall economy, indirectly costing jobs in other industries. The Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical agency within the Department of Energy, released an analysis of the Waxman/Markey cap-and-trade bill that contradicts Waxman’s and Markey’s claim that the bill will revitalize our economy by creating millions of new jobs. The EIA projected that over time the bill would likely become a drag on the economy and reduce job creation because of the dramatic increases in energy costs associated.

According to the Milken Institute, an independent global economic think-tank, a recent study found that high taxes and an “onerous regulatory climate” have cost California 476,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs. And that’s not all: those missing jobs would have spurred the creation of an estimated 1.17 million more jobs throughout the economy, in addition to other benefits.

The report found that since 2003, California is losing manufacturing jobs while other states are gaining them. The Milken Institute continues: “Despite the great importance of manufacturing in the state, California faces two broad, yet distinct, competitive disadvantages: the state’s regulatory climate and its tax burden. California consistently ranks among the most restrictive states in which to start a business, according to several research institutions’ objective metrics as well as our own. As evidence, they cite the amount of time required and degree of difficulty in selecting a site, navigating regulations across jurisdictions, acquiring permits, conducting impact studies, identifying and preparing a work force, and making infrastructure improvements.”

Meanwhile, California not only continues to lose businesses, other states are cherry-picking businesses and encouraging them to leave California. Specifically, California has been losing more of its manufacturing employment, particularly high-value-added manufacturing, to states such as Oregon, Texas, Minnesota and Washington.

California’s high unemployment and record budget deficit is demonstrable of the need for serious economic fixes. With 36 proposed or already enacted pieces of green legislation in California, being the leading “green” state is proving to have too high a price. This also is evidence of the continuing need to monitor the activity of state government, which is what the new CalWatchdog project is all about.

-Katy Grimes

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