Prop 23 could improve state's economy

Katy Grimes: The Legislative Analyst’s Office reported today that if Proposition 23 is passed, the state’s economy will improve “modestly.” However, before LAO analyst Mark Newton could give the rest of the good news, his testimony was interrupted and redirected.

Today the mandatory hearing for Proposition 23 took place at the Capitol. And the bias was prounounced – in the committee and in the audience. Seated in the gallery were far more anti-prop 23 spectators and special interests than Prop 23 supporters.

How do I know this? Seated right in the middle of the pack, I was privy to every whisper, hiss, gasp and snarky comment from opponents of the measure whenever Marysville Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue opended his mouth to ask a question or make a comment, or when proponents from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association, and the NFIB spoke.

But the moment during the hearing that made me emit an audible gasp was when Senate Environmental Committee chairman, Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, stopped LAO analyst Mark Newton  from stating that even with the “modestly higher economic activity” the state would enjoy with passage of Prop 23, “this would translate into an unknown but potentially significant increase in revenues to state and local government,” as he read from the LAO’s Prop 23 report.

The “modest uptick to the economy would result in increased revenue to state and local governments,” was all Newton got out, earlier in the hearing.

This is big!  Any “uptick” in the economy in the state is something the legislature is obligated to pursue, for the good of the everyone in the state.

Instead, Democrat committee members Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro and Senator Fran Pavely railed against the initiative, seeming determined to pursue their own agendas, ignoring the positive economic news.

Newton carefully explained that during LAO research, they weighed all of the factors before they concluded that Prop 23 would result in a modest improvement to the state’s economy.

It was disheartening to observe elected state officials allowing personal agendas override sound, non-partisan research.

And what were Logue’s damning comments? Logue said that “Prop 23 would save the people of the state from the largest enery tax in history, by suspending – not repealing – AB 32.” And Logue was critical of the massive subsidies to the green businesses in the state. “Tap the real economy, get unemployment down, do what Texas is doing with the largest wind farm in the country,” said Logue.

Critical of the subsidies propping up green tech and green businesses, Logue told of Spain’s 20 percent unemployment rate after subsidizing its green businesses, and Italy’s loss of 6 to 7 jobs for every subsidized green job. Logue recommended that green business stand on its own, and is “good for the future. If AB 32 is so great, why do we need a law?”

OCT. 1, 2010

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