Environmental Equity and Economics Group Support Repeal of the Proposed Utility Tax

| February 9, 2024 | 0 Comments

It’s becoming more obvious every day that we have elected officials who are continuing to make poor decisions that impact their constituents.  One of the latest fiascos is AB 205, which included the utility income-based fixed charge under study by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Assemblyman Chris Ward voted for the bill. However, due to lots of calls and criticism from various groups, he now claims that he is part of a group that developed Assembly Bill (AB) 1999 that would repeal portions of AB 205.  One has to wonder if Assemblyman Ward read AB 205 before voting for it.

The fact is, there are a growing number of groups who are having to review all of the bills coming out of Sacramento because of this same issue. 

One of these groups is the Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics (CEEE), which believes that California’s energy policy stands at a critical crossroads if we are to meet the dual challenges of climate and environmental justice. As a coalition representing environmental justice, immigrants, and black church communities, they are dedicated to ensuring that California’s Green energy transition policies are rooted in sustainability and economic equity.

According to the CEEE, the monopoly utilities (IOUs) and their political allies tout the fixed charge policy as a “predictable” rate restructuring that would help accelerate electrification. However, upon rigorous examination, it is clear that the so-called fixed charge is nothing more than a deceptive scheme to increase utility profits on the backs of California’s working class, especially modest-income families living in apartments, condos, and smaller homes. In short, millions of people across California will see their bills go up. The policy does not intend to lower energy bills, but instead to bolster IOU profits with the highest guaranteed monthly fees in the United States. Additionally, a high fixed-charge policy systematically abandons California’s longstanding commitment to energy conservation.

CEEE says it is proud to have helped organize a powerful grassroots coalition of more than two hundred environmental justice, affordable housing, renter, consumer, faith-based, immigrant rights, and climate justice organizations in asking for a repeal of the Utility Tax (AB 205). They will now focus on advocating for the passage of the Utility Tax Repeal (AB 1999) in the California Assembly and State Senate and, ultimately, a signature by Governor Gavin Newsom.

This past year, Assemblyman Chris Ward also met with several other people, including myself, about San Diego’s ADU codes (or ADU codes around the state) and the need to set a maximum number of units per lot.  The discussion also included the incentives for developers to outbid potential homebuyers, especially in working class neighborhoods with a larger population of Hispanic, Asian and African Americans.

Assemblyman Ward has yet to respond to the group’s concerns and requests despite numerous requests from the citizens group. 
Today, more groups are forming to “ward off” the bad policies and decisions of elected officials who should first come to their constituents who are knowledgeable and qualified to speak on a variety of issues, rather than relying on lobbyists who work for the industries that benefit from the bills being created in Sacramento. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Category: Business, feature, Finance, Government, Local News, Taxation

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