During a stop in Goleta on Aug. 24, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger voiced full-throated opposition to Prop. 23, the November ballot initiative that would suspend a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions set to take effect next year.
Schwarzenegger spoke at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport at an event organized by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. He described the proponents of Prop. 23 as oil companies, automobile companies and tire companies seeking to dismantle the legislation, which aims to sharply reduce the state’s carbon emissions.
“It’s the oil companies from Texas that hate our environmental laws,” Schwarzenegger said. “Why? Because they will have to stop polluting.
“We have to be on the forefront, and be a shining example for the rest of the country,” said the Republican governor, who is in his last year in office.
Kristen Amyx, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, said it was helpful to hear the governor’s opinion on the proposition because her group has not come to a decision about whether to support it, oppose it or remain neutral.
“We’re struggling with it, to tell the truth,” Amyx said.
Like many business groups, the Goleta chamber is concerned about the bill’s potential economic impact. An analysis conducted by the state said AB 32 would produce a net benefit to the economy, but that view was later questioned by other economists.
Supporters of Prop. 23 claim it would hurt job growth in the state. Opponents say the cap-and-trade system could benefit the state by helping it become a leader in green and clean technology.
But Amyx said that many county and local governments have begun laying the ground work for a cap-and-trade system and that a switch now — and perhaps another switch in the future, given California’s ballot initiative system — could be more disruptive than letting the regulations take effect.
Capriciousness can be more troublesome to business than cost, Amyx said. Stability “is all we’re every asking for from government in the business world,” she said.