7 years not enough planning time for air board on AB 32

May 16, 2013

By Chris Reed

carb_logoThe news that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to “borrow” $500 million in cap-and-trade auction fees to prop up the state’s general fund in his revised 2013-14 budget could not have been more predictable.

Brown may have an image of fiscal rectitude, but it is fiscal rectitude in service of sustaining the state’s dumb status quo. However strong and obvious the case may be, the governor has no interest in a new approach that abandons the assumption that state spending must always be higher, year after year, no matter the larger economic circumstances, and that embraces the information technology revolution that has sharply improved private-sector productivity.

Still, one of the rationales for the diversion of auction fees was deliciously funny:

“Brown’s Department of Finance said in a letter to lawmakers that proceeds from the cap-and-trade system were originally proposed for programs to reduce greenhouse gas that could be funded by the general fund.

‘The loan is appropriate because the agencies need further time to design and develop their programs to ensure that when the programs receive funds they will further the purposes of AB 32 and maximize long-term greenhouse gas reductions,’ the Brown administration wrote.

“The letter also said the Air Resources Board needs more time to develop a plan that would help inform how to best invest the money.”

A Mencken moment for CARB

So the California Air Resources Board has had since the September 2006 enactment of AB 32 to prepare for its implementation — and now the time has come, and air board bureaucrats are still not ready?

Wow. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, no one will ever go broke underestimating CARB.

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