by Tom Tanton, E&E Legal Director of Science and Technology Assessment
As appearing in Flash Report
Much has been said already about the betrayal by Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes, pushing for enough republican members to pass Jerry Brown’s cap and trade extension. He’s been trying to justify the vote and coercion of fellow republicans ever since, mostly with a ‘it could have been worse; it’s insurance; California needs to lead’ theme. Mayes claims he’s just doing the right thing, but fails with doing the thing right. Most of the recent debate is centered on the existential threat to the Republican brand in California. Calls are increasing for Mayes to resign his Assembly leadership slot or face removal, up to calls for him to resign his Assembly seat. In deciding which side is right, I looked to see what Mayes did and why. Was there any logic to reneging on his campaign promises and Republican principles?
First is Mayes lie that “things would be worse”, under an inevitable command and control substitute. The claim: without the “market-like” program (NOT market based) cap and trade, the state would just directly regulate, more onerously, every emission source. Dean Florez, a CARB member, put the lie to this, perhaps inadvertently, when he urged liberal Cap & Trade opponents to support the extension and then come back to CARB to get what they really want – full “Command and Control” authority. Can you say “two-fer?” Too bad Mayes didn’t notice Florez, ironically, was quoted in “The Nooner” disclosing this deception. We also know it’s a lie because it has happened before. Not long after AB32 was passed, and with it the original cap and trade program, along came the onerous low carbon fuel standard.