Sacramento, CA — California lawmakers have extended the cap-and-trade program for another decade.
A majority of Democrats in the Senate and Assembly were in favor, while most Republicans were opposed. In the Senate, Mother Lode District 8 Republican Tom Berryhill was the lone vote in favor. While he criticizes “aggressive climate change policies,” he felt it was going to pass regardless, one way or another, so he says it was best to ensure that small business owners and rural Californians were well represented in the negotiations. He notes that the package suspends the $150 fire fee that residents in unincorporated areas have been paying for the past six years, which Berryhill calls an “illegal fire tax.” He says the legislation also prevents lawmakers from “increasing taxes on gas by substantially more than one dollar per gallon.”
In addition, there is a tax break for manufacturers and funding is included to help farmers and food producers cover the costs of reducing emissions.
A key part of the cap-and-trade program requires heavy industry polluters to purchase carbon credits to offset their emissions. Governor Brown has hailed cap-and-trade as a key part of the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and has encouraged other states to use it has a model.
Many other Republican Senators had a different opinion. District One Senator Ted Gaines feels that continuing the cap-and-trade program will significantly increase the cost of energy. “Today marks the start of the next great California recession,” says Gaines. “A day where the legislature shows utter disregard for the lives of the working people in this state and chooses to impoverish them to fight climate change.”
There was more bipartisan support of AB 398 in the Assembly, where seven Republicans were in favor, including leader Chad Mayes. Other Republicans voting yes included Catharine Baker, Rocky Chavez, Jordan Cunningham, Heath Flora, Devon Mathis and Marc Steinorth. Three Assembly Democrats were opposed, Adam Gray, Monique Limon and Mark Stone. No Democrats voted in opposition in the Senate.