For the second election in a row, the Sacramento Metro Chamber is bucking the trend among its peers.
In June, the chamber's board of directors came out against Proposition 16, the ploy by Pacific Gas & Electric to protect its market by making it very difficult for public utilities to form or expand. The chamber stood up for members who benefit from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's low electricity rates -- and stood apart from the California Chamber and most local chambers of commerce in the state. Prop. 16 failed.
This afternoon, the Metro Chamber announced that it is opposing Proposition 23, the November ballot measure that would suspend California's landmark AB 32 climate change legislation until the unemployment rate -- now north of 12 percent -- falls to 5.5 percent and stays there for a full year. Critics of the proposition say that basically guts AB 32 because it would never be implemented, and that will delay California's transition to a clean energy economy.
Proponents say that AB 32 is a job killer and California can't afford that right now. Supporters include business groups and many local chambers of commerce, including those in Fresno, Bakersfield and Santa Clara County. The statewide chamber has stayed neutral so far.
Sacramento is a center for clean energy jobs. In declaring its opposition, the Metro Chamber said it has been "on the record, for the past three years, supporting the general concepts represented in AB 32."
"Additionally, our continued advocacy for a balanced approach and implementation of AB 32 is more in line with our stated Capitol-to-Capitol Program polices in the areas of air quality and climate change," the chamber said.
Its other stands on statewide ballot propositions are not surprising, though it is taking no position on Proposition 21, which would fund state parks through an $18 surcharge on vehicle license fees. "There's not a legitimate nexus between the VLF fee and funding of parks and wildlife conservation," the chamber said. "The state parks and wildlife conservation programs should continue to be funded through existing state and local funding sources."