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Measure to suspend greenhouse gas law appears headed for November ballot

Backers of a measure to suspend implementation of the state's greenhouse gas law until unemployment drops to 5.5% have submitted more than 800,000 signed petitions to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

A coalition of anti-tax and small business groups, with funding from out-of-state oil companies, held a news  conference in Sacramento before handing in the petitions.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., said the measure is an effort to "return California's economy to some semblance of sanity." Coupal said the measure would cost the state more than 1 million jobs, far outpacing any potential job gains from new, "green-tech" jobs.

Citing the state's record unemployment, Coupal said "it's time to take a timeout" in implementing the law, which is expected to be phased in by 2012.

Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the governor would lead the charge against the measure in the fall and that the governor was "disappointed" by the proposed suspension.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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