Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Energy Users Fighting to Sunset 15-year old "Temporary" Taxes

This from the Energy Users Coalition

Two Sacramento politicians are trying to extend a $350 million utility tax that was originally sold to us as a "temporary" measure in 1996. Their bills, AB 723 and AB 1303, are direct taxes and are now headed to State Senate policy committees after passing in the Assembly.

The good news is that as taxes they require the support of 2/3 of the Legislature, so we can stop them if we can just keep Republican Senators from voting for the bills. Most Republican Senators are on record as having made a commitment to opposing tax hikes and supporting job creation, but we must make ourselves heard to hold them to these promises.

Take action to stop the $350 million giveaway of your tax dollars to public utilities

The author of AB 723, Asm. Steve Bradford, is himself a former public utility executive, while his buddy Asm. Das Williams, the author of AB 1303 is a former city councilman from wealthy Santa Barbara with a record of opposing energy production and supporting costly green energy mandates.

AB 723 and AB 1303 are a bad idea for all of these following reasons:

California's electricity costs are already 50% higher on average than other states.
Costly energy is a main factor killing well-paying blue collar jobs in such fields as manufacturing and driving California's unemployment to record highs.
High electricity rates are a key factor in California's unusually high gas prices. Oil refining is energy intensive and high rates for refiners mean higher gas prices for all of us.
If this tax was ever necessary, it is not anymore. Since this tax was imposed in 1996 as a temporary measure to encourage renewable energy after utility deregulation, many other expensive green energy mandates have been imposed and the utility industry has been re-regulated.
The tax dollars paid into this program have been mismanaged and used for things having nothing to do with energy, including how "global warming" might affect bird distribution.
One new green energy mandate alone is expected to raise energy costs by 30-80%, so your help is crucial to stopping this unnecessary job-killing tax. Please take the following actions to stop these bills:

SIGN the petition to the California Legislature telling the politicians to vote NO
WRITE letters to the editor to your local newspaper opposing AB 723 and AB 1303. If your letter is published, please email it to me atEric@Coalitionofenergyusers.org so I can share it with other activists.
TESTIFY at the upcoming hearings on the bill. These bills are scheduled to be heard in Senate policy committees on June 29th and July 5th.
DOWNLOAD the fact sheet and distribute it to your friends and fellow activists.
A $350 million a year energy tax is really the last thing we need in this time of record high unemployment. Some Republicans in the Assembly have already supported these bills, which are identical except for the length of time they extend the tax, so we cannot count on Senate Republicans to stand against these bills unless we make ourselves heard.

Perhaps the Assemblymembers who betrayed their supposed belief in fiscal responsibility and job creation thought nobody would notice. It's time for us to turn up the pressure, so Senate Republicans will be under no illusion that citizens aren't paying attention.

Thank you for your support. Restoring our state to economic prosperity is possible and your activism is key. Can you imagine that a generation ago, electricity was so cheap they thought meters would be obsolete within a decade? The only thing that has driven up costs is government, so it is well within our reach to get our Golden State back!

If you liked the information in this action alert please use the social networking icon on the top to share it with your contacts on Facebook and Twitter.

Eric Eisenhammer
Coalition of Energy Users

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