Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) gives his reactions to the Governor’s State of the State Address in his Capitol Comment report for the week of January 5, 2015.
The Governor stated goals of cutting gasoline usage in half in California, and also wants to increase the use of renewable energy to 50 percent, which is above the current mandate of one-third. Senator Huff says while the goals are laudable, they may be difficult to achieve.
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Minority Leader in the California State Senate and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter @bobhuff99.
Here is the script for this week’s taping:
I’m Senator Bob Huff and this is my Capitol Comment.
Governor Jerry Brown charts an ambitious path in his fourth and final term as Governor in California.
He revealed some of the goals for his last term during his State of the State Address to the Legislature.
“California,” he told us, has “undertaken big tasks and entertained big ideas.” He described the history of our leadership as “a state of dreamers, builders and immigrants.”
While we can be proud of our accomplishments, some of us wonder if the Governor is dreaming instead of facing reality.
The Governor specifically mentioned that he wants to cut gasoline use in cars by fifty percent over the next 15 years. This is a noble goal, but begs a couple questions: How do we pay for these more expensive but efficient cars, and where will the funding to fix bridges and roads come from, as they are now assessed as fuel taxes, which would be cut in half if Brown is successful in cutting fuel consumption. Clearly more problems to solve.
Governor Brown also wants half of the electric power that Californians consume to come from renewable resources.
The California Air Resources Board already faces a mandate that one-third of the electric power consumed in California must come from renewable, clean resources by 2020—a goal we will attain. Many industry experts are concerned, however, that 50% is unattainable. The sun doesn’t always shine; the wind doesn’t always blow, and the rules were set so clean hydroelectricity and nuclear energy can’t count toward the 50% goal.
The Governor’s goal is laudable, but there are some real concerns. First – renewable power isn’t just expensive, it’s VERY expensive.
The California Manufacturer’s Technology Association says that California business owners, on average, already pay 84 percent more than the national average for industrial electricity. Much of existing cost is already driven by existing high-priced renewable energy sources.
With existing environmental regulations, high cost of labor and housing, as well much higher electricity rates, how is our manufacturing sector going to grow needed good-paying middle class jobs while absorbing even higher electricity rates?
Californians have already told us that they are most concerned about jobs and the economy. While they sometimes like the thought of renewable energy, the environment or high-speed rail, these are not the high priorities of our hard-working families who are trying to make ends meet.
At what point does being on the leading edge of climate change and environmental reform impact our ability to create or sustain jobs? What is more important to you?
I’m Senator Bob Huff. This is my Capitol Comment.