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Prop. 26: A new strategy for big oil companies?

When Chevron, California's largest company, looked at how it could wield influence in this election cycle, it shunned Proposition 23, the high-profile ballot initiative to suspend the state's global-warming law. So did Shell, Conoco Phillips and ExxonMobil.

But if many of the large oil-producing companies judged the global-warming initiative as too controversial, and unlikely to succeed, they found another way to express their views.

In the last two weeks of the campaign, they have poured millions of dollars into promoting Proposition 26, a measure on Tuesday's ballot that would require a two-thirds vote, rather than a simple majority, for the state Legislature and local governments to assess many fees on business.

Proposition 26 proponents, including the California Chamber of Commerce, tobacco and alcohol companies, as well as oil companies, call their effort the “Stop Hidden Taxes” campaign.

Environmentalists and green-tech promoters, who  have responded with millions of dollars of their own, call the initiative “Prop. 23’s evil twin” and “a sneak attack.”

Until recently, Proposition 26 was so far under the public radar that no public polls asked voters about it. As of last week, internal campaign surveys showed an even split on it among voters who had made up their minds; more than a quarter, however, were undecided — often a sign that a ballot measure will fail.

Chevron has contributed $3.9 million, the single largest donation by a company, to an $18.3-million joint campaign fund to push Proposition 26 and combat Proposition 25, an initiative to overturn California's requirement for a two-thirds vote on state budgets.

La-me-prop26 Proposition 26, said Morgan Crinklaw, a Chevron spokesman, “closes a loophole in California law.” Mandating a two-thirds vote, he said, “will help get California's economy moving again and promote job growth.”

Environmentalists fear that Proposition 26 will make it almost impossible to enforce regulations under AB 32, the state's ambitious climate-change law as well as to enact fees aimed at combating pollution and hazardous waste.

In robocalls to voters this weekend, actor Leonardo DiCaprio urged a "no" vote, saying the measure "lets polluters off the hook." And in Los Angeles, the Green LA Coalition, an umbrella group, sent out mailers Friday calling for phone-bank volunteers to battle "Prop. 26: the most dangerous measure you haven't heard about."

Read more: "Oil and tobacco companies face off against environmentalists on Prop. 26."


California's climate law: What's at stake for Valero Energy Corp.?

Prop. 23: Oil giants are divided

Support for Prop. 23 drops sharply

-- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: Bay area protesters against Proposition 23, an initiative to suspend California's global-warming law, have turned their attention to Proposition 26. That proposition, funded by oil, tobacco and alcohol companies, would require a two-thirds vote for many fees on businesses. Credit: No on 26 campaign

Comments () | Archives (5)

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Thanks for your excellent coverage of Prop 23 and Prop 26. At this point, what ever the voters decided, it is a done deal – For the moment.

Big oil will be around for a long time. And California is where the nations renewable energy direction will be set. California will continue to be the epicenter of big oil and renewable energy battles

For readers that are undecided about which way to go on this, the election is over, but the issue of climate change and transition to renewable cleaner, greener forms of energy marches on.

If you would like to stay in touch with global trends on climate change, energy, water, and food, see:

We are in the early days of major changes in the nature of the world and how it will provide for us. There is a lot of disinformation being broadcast by special interest groups. Do your homework and pay attention. We only get one shot at getting this right. Humanity has never seen anything quite like what we are in the midst of. It is unfolding slowly, and therefore hard to appreciate on a day-to-day basis. But make no mistake, that doesn't mean it won't have a big impact on the lives of those you love that are the next generation.

Jay Kimball
8020 Vision

Goes in to show California oil companies are sneakier than Texas ones. Makes your average California feel all "proud".

The best way the liberals can fight the so-called "Big Oil" is to stop using it. No driving, no natural gas, no electricity. That will show Big Oil who is boss, go for it libs!

I'm so glad the Times is talking about this and that people are taking the time research their vote. I hope we're in time to defeat this terrible bill. Please, tell friends and family. Don't let this happen.

The proposal is just 5 pages long, you can read it for yourself here:

The part that scares me is this:
"Any change in state statute which results in any taxpayer paying a higher tax, must be imposed by not less than two thirds of all members elected to each of the two houses of the Legislature, except that no new ad valorem taxes on real property, or sales or transaction taxes on the sales of real property may be imposed."

If we can't get 2/3 of the legislature and the governor to agree on a budget, how will we ever fix our finances once that poison pill is in our constitution?

See more:

US is so fuc..ed up country. Companies are legally bribing politicians through so called lobbyists, and people are just ok with it. Does public have any serious institution that takes care of voter's business? NO! It's all about business friendly regulations that let screw up voters any way greedy execs want. I thought americans are smarter than that...


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