One of the most hotly contested items on this year’s California ballot isProposition 23, an initiative aimed at suspending the State’s landmarkAB 32 law (the Global Warming Solutions Act). Prop 23 is being touted as a "jobs initiative," but the real thrust ofthe proposition is to suspend AB 32 until unemployment reaches a levelof 5.5% for four consecutive quarters, a mark that has been hit only afew times in the last 30 years. As a consequence, Prop 23 is effectively a repeal of the law. At a time when the U.S. and California need toredouble its leadership in mitigating climate change and its investmentin building a low-carbon economy, Prop 23 would be a major stepbackwards.
Four years ago, California put into place the nation’s first comprehensive law to spur the development of clean energy andreduce greenhouse gases. While the implementation of policies under AB32 is still being carefully crafted, AB 32 has been the catalyst for the creation of more than 500,000 jobs and 12,000 businesses which haveattracted more than $10 billion in venture capital — five times morethan any other state. California has quickly become the leader in solarenergy development and is, according to the Wall Street Journal, home to seven of the top 10 clean tech companies and three of the five bestcities for clean tech job creation. In this period of time, AppliedMaterials has built a billion dollar energy and environmental solutionsbusiness, employing hundreds of people here in California and many other locations around the world.
Prop 23 would pull the rug out from this explosive growth and our effort to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels.
Prop 23 has been put on the ballot by two Texas-based oil companies, Valeroand Tesoro, and has attracted significant contributions from otherout-of-state special interests. To date, 89% of the funding for thisproposition has come from beyond California’s borders and 98% fromfossil fuel interests. Instead of attempting to make California policyat the ballot box, that money would be better spent adapting theirbusinesses to low-carbon standards and creating more jobs in theprocess.
Meanwhile, Prop 23 is opposed by a broad and diverse coalition including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; American Lung Association in California; AARP; the Sierra Club; NAACP; the California Nurses Association; Small Business California; and dozens of other groups. Both Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, as well as Gov. Schwarzenegger, oppose Prop 23. So does the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and nearly all of the state’s major newspapers.
They believe, as I do, that Prop 23 will harm our state’s economy. It willalso be a setback for national efforts to develop renewable energy andaddress climate change, resulting in more air pollution and higherenergy costs for businesses and our families.
Please join me in voting No on Prop 23. Thank you.