Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger defended the state's greenhouse gas reduction law today, dismissing a Legislative Analyst's conclusion that determined the measure would cost the state jobs in the near term.
"I travel up and down the state, unlike others that only have theoretical opinions," the governor said during a brief sidewalk news conference after giving a speech at a downtown Sacramento hotel. "I see first hand ... that all kinds of (green industry) places want to expand, all we have to do is give them the incentives, the tax incentives and the job creation packages. I know that AB 32 will create jobs."
On Monday, the nonpartisan analyst released a 10-page letter that concluded the 2006 measure, which seeks to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, would have negative short-term effects and uncertain long-term effects on the jobs market.
The law is the target of a proposed initiative, primarily financed by two Texas-based oil companies. The measure would delay AB 32 from being fully implemented until the state's unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent for four straight quarters.
Schwarzenegger, who was and is an ardent champion of the law, said it wouldn't work unless "we show consistency." The Republican governor likened it to environmental regulations promulgated by President Jimmy Carter that he said were undone by Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, because oil prices dropped and made green technology less economically desirable.
"We can't change these things every five minutes when the economy goes up and down," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm absolutely convinced that AB 32 will create more jobs than kill jobs, and this is why I insist we keep it in place."