Outside The Beltway: The High Cost Of Environmentalism

Posted on Sun 03/28/2010 by

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Todd ThurmanBy Todd Thurman

In Los Angeles, in the heart of California’s anemic economy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) hope to massively raise energy rates by a whopping 21% next year, with other rate increases slated through 2014, for a total 37% hike.

Are the increased rates intended to pay for a budget shortfall? No.  Are they going up because the cost of energy is going up, too? Not exclusively. The increased rates would raise money to “invest” in renewable energy. In fact, Villaraigosa thought the hike was so important that he invited former Vice President Al Gore to present at the city council meeting via satellite.

The good news is that some common sense remains in the L.A. city council chambers, and the rate increase has not yet been implemented.

With unemployment at 12.5% in California, it would seem like now is the worst possible time for a rate hike. That fact, though, will not stop the environmental left.  They will stop at nothing to make sure people can’t afford essential things like electricity and heating oil, all in the name of unconfirmed science.   …  

Consumers aren’t the only ones who would take a hit under the plan. Villaraigosa also proposed a 22% rate increase for businesses and tried to hide the rate increases under the façade of creating 18,000 jobs His arguments fell on deaf ears at the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, where they voted against his proposal saying “They’re just making those [jobs] up.”

It is just another costly tax increase that threatens to kill whatever growth there is in the stagnated economy. There is some good news though. Not many council members are in favor of the plan, and those that are say the extra money should go toward improving the DWP. Councilman Paul Krekorian said the plan was “an extraordinary burden on our homeowners and businesses” and  “unacceptable.”

It is a telling sign that even in a place as liberal as Los Angeles, there is as much opposition to a progressive “green jobs” initiative as there is in this case. It just might be another indicator of the growing skepticism about global warming. Not even the presence of former Vice President Al Gore was enough to sway council members to pass a tax that would lead to more unemployment, more people unable to pay bills, and would worsen the recession in a state that is floundering.

Todd Thurman is the Online Marketing Manager for The Heritage Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives, and he contributes posts at The Foundry.

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