by Kevin Singer, Communications Coordinator, Californians for Responsible Economic Development
In 2011 alone, California produced a grand total of approximately 200 million barrels of oil and 230 billion cubic feet of natural gas, making our state the fourth largest producer of oil and the tenth largest producer of natural gas in the country. Yet, despite this, California does not get a dime for the resources that are extracted from our state and sold on the global market. This is because, unlike every other major oil and natural gas producing state in the nation, California has not enacted an extraction fee on the energy that is taken right from under our feet.
Let's think about this for a moment. California, the ninth largest economy in the world, is ranked 43rd in the country in terms of K-12 spending per pupil. The University of California, the flagship public university system of the nation, has seen a 14% decrease in funding since 2010. And at a time when a quality college education has never been more important, tuition is skyrocketing, making a diploma unaffordable for an increasing number of young Californians. Meanwhile, at 9.8% unemployment, even those who have graduated from college find themselves without work or working at jobs they are tremendously over-qualified for. The appalling disrepair of our municipal infrastructure only discourages employers from bringing more jobs to our state. But our state government has its hands tied behind its back. The $250 billion dollar state debt all but assures that there will be no additional funding for education and infrastructure in the near future.
And we are giving away our oil and natural gas. We have the wealth to fund the investments that California needs and deserves and we are giving it away. This is to say nothing of that fact that by not charging an extraction fee on oil and natural gas, our state, which prides itself as a leader of reducing CO2 emissions, is not putting a price on the CO2 that eventually makes its way into the atmosphere. To say this is ridiculous would be an understatement. It is an outrage.
The California Modernization and Economic Development Act (or CMED) would put an end to it. By implementing a modest 9.5% extraction fee on oil and natural gas (Alaska, hardly an enemy of big oil, has implemented a fee of 24% on oil and natural gas that's extracted from the state), CMED would raise between 2 and 2.5 billion dollars in revenue for California. A little more than half, 1.2 billion dollars, would be allocated in four equal parts for K-12, California Community Colleges, Cal State Universities, and the University of California for the purposes of increasing quality and restoring tuition to 2010 levels. 400 million dollars will be used to support small businesses by aiding their transition to cheaper, carbon-free and carbon-reduced forms of energy, which would in turn empower them to expand, hire additional workers, and reinvest. An additional 300 million dollars would be apportioned to the general funds of California County Governments for the purpose of upgrading and better maintaining municipal infrastructure, funding the conservation of regional park land and providing a multitude of other public services.
These are more than investments, they constitute a complete vision for responsible economic development in California. Making that vision a reality is as easy as ending the giveaway of our oil and natural gas, but it'll take a popular movement if we truly want to realign the policies in Sacramento with the wishes and desires of Californians. Simply by taking a few moments, right now, and visiting www.cmedact.org, liking our Facebook, following us on Twitter, telling your friends or donating anything you can, even $5, you can provide the crucial grassroots support we need. It's that easy. You could be the difference between failing to qualify and qualifying CMED on the 2014 ballot, so that Californians can have a chance to pass it democratically.
We can do this California, but not without your support. If you think it's ridiculous that we are giving away our oil and natural gas at a time when California is more cash-strapped than ever, join our cause. It won't be easy, but together we will qualify and pass the California Modernization and Economic Development Act and put our state back on the right track.
But he did get a nice vacation in the most beautiful state!
by Brian Leubitz
Rick Perry's swoop through Southern California appears to be over, and he's leaving without much other than a few parties to show for it:
On a conference call with reporters from Laguna Beach, the Republican said he spent his four days meeting with entrepreneurs and business leaders and held a reception for more than 200 California companies that have expressed interest in moving to Texas. Such relocations can take time, but Perry also offered no details on prospects, much less concrete announcements. ...
Perry said on the call that "this isn't about bashing California; it's about promoting Texas." But he went on to offer a few digs. When asked if Texas' light regulatory rules have contributed to a high number of worksite deaths, the governor said he thought it had more to do with high-risk oil and gas industry jobs prevalent in his state.
"Y'all in California are not very knowledgeable about the energy industry and that is a fairly dangerous workplace," Perry said, ignoring California's green-technology initiatives. (Houston Chronicle)
Not sure what to say here, other than California has plenty of dangerous jobs, yet a much lower incidence of injuries. Surely that couldn't be the work of workplace safety regulations.
Perry's little stunt with the $14,000 radio ad got some press, but it also got this clever response from the Lone Star Project. (see right)
Now whether Perry chooses to acknowledge it, California has several major advantages that can't simply be tossed aside. Silicon Valley is a technology cluster like no other, and Hollywood, is, well, Hollywood. Our renewable energy standards mean that we will be in the middle of the green economy, a ship that Texas is letting sail by.
California remains the home of innovation. Surely every state has its peccadilloes, but our resources are vast and our economy is growing. It's a great time to be in California.
Texas Governor tours California, but proof jobs actually move is slim
by Brian Leubitz
Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to tour California to poach jobs from the state. But this is more about Rick Perry and his situation at home than actually moving jobs. First, a bit about Perry: Texans are sick of him. I grew up in Texas, and was there during the governorships of Ann Richards, G W Bush, and Perry (plus a few more before Richards). Thing is, Texans tend to really like their Governors. Richards, even when she lost to W, had an approval rating in the 60s.
Bush actually did a fair amount of work with the Democrats in the Legislature, and was generally well regarded. Perry was another beast entirely. He came to power as partisanship was getting worse in the state, and exploited it. He didn't really need Democratic support, and so, he turned to the right. Perry, a former Democrat who worked on Al Gore's 1988 campaign, has made Texas government a far less friendly place.
It turns out that Texans don't really appreciate it, and a recent poll shows they don't really appreciate Perry anymore:
Fifty-four percent of Lone Star State voters said they disapprove of the job Perry is doing as governor, while 41 percent said they approve. A larger majority, 62 percent, said Perry should not seek re-election next year compared with just 31 percent who said he should. (TPM)
So, here comes Perry hoping that a few good photo ops of him "poaching" jobs from California, our little slice of heaven that seems to be target #1 for conservatives. Why would that be? Oh, right, we are the center of innovation in the country and the world. But can jobs be actually poached, or is this more Perry posturing?
Only a tiny fraction of California companies move or relocate to other states, and the reasons have little to do with what goodies a visiting governor offers them to relocate - even one like Perry, whose state dishes out $19 billion annually in incentives to lure businesses to Texas.
Kolko's research found that from 1992 to 2006, the net employment change in California as a result of relocation amounted to a loss of about 9,000 jobs a year - only 0.05 percent of California's 18 million jobs.
In Silicon Valley, which is experiencing dot-com-boom-level economic growth, only a small percentage of all the companies that are closing or moving are leaving the state, said Doug Henton, CEO of Collaborative Economics, a San Mateo research firm that helped prepare the Silicon Valley Index, a study of the region's job patterns that was released this month.
"Somebody like Gov. Perry can say, 'Come to Texas,' but the amount that do is a minuscule amount" of the valley's job losses, Henton said.(Joe Garofoli-SF Chronicle)
In the end, many of the jobs that Perry does buy aren't even a good deal for his state. But, they sure do make for a great photo op with some CEO. And a good soundbite about cutting regulations, business environment, and other nonsense. Perry is out for Perry, he'll do what he has to do to stay in power. But this little PR stunt amounts to a whole lot of hot air from a politician that seems to have no dearth of it.
As a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, I am thrilled that there is finally momentum gaining in the movement to achieve real public higher education reform in California. In particular, the Middle Class Scholarship Act is an economically feasible way to make public higher education more affordable for all Californians.
While I was a student at SFSU my tuition increased every semester. To make matters worse, I never qualified for financial assistance to help fund my education because the State determined that my parents could afford to pay not only my tuition but also those of both of my sisters.
California's public college students are continuing to struggle. The CSU Board of Trustees' recent decision to close Spring 2013 enrollment is just one of the devastating blows that our public higher education students have been forced to endure, with no end in sight.
Among the big political news this week was the release of the Legislative Peer Review Group’s report on the California high-speed rail project. The report recommends that the state freezes the project “at this time” until further assessment is done on its long-term feasibility. Problem is, the report was completed with minimal consultation with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and ignored many of the details on feasibility included in the Authority’s recent business plan.
Opponents seized on the erroneous report to further their campaign to derail the project. While it might make good politics for some conservatives to oppose a signature program of the Obama White House, it certainly doesn’t make for good policy. Halting the high-speed rail project at this critical stage would jeopardize the entire project. It would put billions in federal funding at risk, and sap the state of an important engine to create desperately needed jobs.
The debate on high-speed rail – like so many other issues these days -- has become overly politicized and isn’t on the merits. A group of conservative Republicans wants to put the issue back on the ballot, even though voters have already approved $9 billion in state bonds for high-speed rail. Even the peer review group, which is balanced and supports the concept of high-speed rail, got many pertinent facts wrong in its report.
With respect to the project, it’s time we got back to basics. Many countries around the world, including China, are showing that high-speed rail is an important component to the future of transportation. It’s clean, environmentally friendly, efficient, convenient and affordable. It alleviates traffic and air congestion while giving passengers an important option to meet their travel needs. In California, the project also offers an enormous opportunity to give our struggling economy a boost, especially in areas hard hit by the recession like the Central Valley. Over the life of the project, as many as 750,000 jobs would be created.
The project is supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents. On its merits, it makes perfect sense. And the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), after early missteps, now has its act together and has delivered a detailed and transparent plan to bring the project to fruition. Gov. Brown has infused the HSRA board with seasoned experts, like Dan Richard and Mike Rossi, who bring years of experience in transportation planning and finance.
As the next Congressional fight over payroll tax extensions and unemployment benefits and pipelines gets set up in the next few weeks for either its final chapter or to be kicked down the road a bit farther, one or the other, you're going to hear a lot from our Republican friends about how much they value work and workers; most especially, they'll tell you, they value American jobs for American workers.
After all, they'll say, creating American jobs is the most important thing of all.
But if we were to look back over just the last few months, some would tell us, we could quickly find examples of how Republicans promote ideas that don't seem to value work or workers at all, much less American jobs.
Well as it turns out, "some" seem to be right; to illustrate one of those examples we'll look back a month or two or three to a time some Republicans might wish was long, long, ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
I'm on a mission to restore the American Dream - and I know that to do that, we're going to have shake things up in Washington. It's time we fundamentally change our priorities; and that starts by putting pressure on our leaders to act on creating good jobs and stop protecting unnecessary tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent.
One of the most significant benefits of LightSquared's network will be the elimination of the "digital divide" that keeps millions of Americans - many of them in rural areas - from participating in the wireless broadband revolution.
Our network will bring 4G-LTE to rural Americans from coast to coast, and our integrated satellite-terrestrial capabilities will help every corner of the country receive a strong, high-speed wireless broadband signal. We expect that LightSquared will be especially helpful to our nation's agricultural sector, in which wireless technology is especially needed to conduct business, communicate and receive information from remote locations.
For the past decade, we have developed our network based on the fact that America needs more capacity and competition in broadband wireless, and that the technical challenges - notably, the potential for GPS receiver interference - are surmountable by applying ingenuity and energy to develop engineering solutions. We have always believed that LightSquared and GPS can and will co-exist, for the benefit of the country. That benefit will be felt by all Americans in the form of increased choice, greater innovation and lower prices - but perhaps most notably among farmers, who too often are denied its benefits.
OK, we'll admit it - we love a great infographic. And this one from the Internet Innovation Alliance is one of the best we've seen in a while. It makes the connection between broadband and jobs - the fact that more Americans than ever before rely on a fast, reliable connection to do their jobs. That more investment in broadband will yield hundeds of thousands of jobs. That... well, we could go on, but really you should just check it out for yourself.
Special interests are trying to distract attention from the facts.
For eight years, LightSquared has navigated the regulatory process to win approvals to build America's first privately funded coast-to-coast wireless broadband service. LightSquared's plan to invest billions of dollars to use its frequencies for an integrated ground-space network has been supported by both Republican and Democratic regulators --Michael Powell and Kevin Martin, FCC Chairmen appointed by President Bush,and Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman appointed by President Obama. In fact, the regulatory approvals that paved our way came in the mid-2000's, during the Bush administration under Powell and Martin.
Regulators from both parties understand LightSquared's approach will create more competition in the marketplace, put downward pressure on the prices paid by consumers, create good paying jobs in the tech sector, and give Americans access to the most modern cellular technology. LightSquared's plan has drawn bipartisan support because it's right for the country.
The news on jobs has not been good lately. There is a bright spot, though, one that has the potential to created thousands of good, well-paying jobs. As AT&T's Adam Grzybicki, president of AT&T Oregon/Idaho/Montana, explains, it is AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA. Grzybicki, writing for www.cdapress.com, makes a compelling and clear case that "despite the pervasive headlines, there are some bright spots on the horizon that hold promise to reinvigorate the economy and deliver thousands of jobs for American workers. One of those bright spots is AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
As part of the deal, AT&T has pledged to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States that are currently outsourced to other countries. This is the single largest commitment by an American company to bring jobs back to the U.S. since the economic crisis began in 2008. The company has also committed to no job losses for wireless call center workers at AT&T and T-Mobile on the payroll at the closing of the proposed acquisition. As the nation faces unemployment figures stubbornly stuck at near historic highs, this is much-needed good news.
As part of the transaction, AT&T will invest more than $8 billion to integrate AT&T and T-Mobile networks and to expand its next-generation 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network. That investment will create an estimated 55,000 to 96,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute study commissioned by the Communications Workers of America. In today's job market landscape, those numbers are substantial and encouraging.
Can you imagine having to wait your turn to make a mobile phone call? It may seem like a far-fetched concept, but it's a practical reality in many large urban areas where completing a call during peak times has become a frustrating challenge. After years of double digit growth, the nation's wireless networks simply don't have enough capacity on their towers to support the more than 300 million mobile devices in this country.
This spectrum shortage has been compounded by the popularity of smart phones, which use 24 times more wireless capacity than a regular handset. Wireless tablets, such as an iPad, use five times as much as a smartphone, and netbooks send and receive four times as much data as a tablet. It's easy to see how all those videos, photos and Facebook updates are clogging our nation's networks and leading to dropped calls and no service signals.
The trend towards more network congestion is clear, and that's not good news for consumers who are used to technology advancements providing faster speeds and lower prices. But the nation's wireless networks are not keeping up with the rapid advancement of our mobile devices. Rather than keep up with demand, Verizon and AT&T have begun to ration their customers. Both companies recently stopped offering unlimited wireless plans, meaning that it will cost subscribers more to access the same services.
This editorial in The Detroit News by Orjiakor N. Isiogu, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, very nearly perfectly sums up our argument.
Like HDTV before it, 4G-LTE wireless holds incredible promise for consumers and device manufacturers alike. But today there is insufficient wireless capacity to support millions of 4G-LTE devices, and demand is rising ever faster. According to Cisco Systems, mobile traffic is expected to increase 26-fold by 2015. By 2015 the majority of Internet traffic will be via mobile devices - a reality unthinkable just two years ago.
That's why LightSquared's venture is significant. It would substantially increase America's broadband wireless capacity while providing next-generation high-speed wireless data and voice to areas previously underserved. In addition, the company plans to market its nationwide network on a wholesale model, allowing any number of new competitors to enter the market. Many observers have hailed this proposal as a key part of President Obama's plan to increase high-speed Internet adoption nationwide, while also increasing competition in a consolidating wireless industry, all at zero cost to taxpayers, thanks to a planned $25 billion investment by the company.
More competitors in the market will mean lower prices and better service for consumers, along with expanded wireless broadband options. Another key benefit will be the economic benefit associated with building out a national network, including the creation of an estimated 15,000 jobs per year. Public safety could be enhanced by this network as well.
Simply put, whether you're somewhere in urban Michigan or rural California, an expanded wireless network means more competition, lower prices, and better service. And we're doing it all at zero cost to taxpayers.
For real - it is. And the truth is, that while all of this debate about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is important, worthwhile and necessary, it's also something of a red herring. Because at the end of the day the problem that the merger was initiated in part to address, the problem that will ultimately prevent new competition, stifle innovation and shut down the incredible potential to create jobs and grow the economy through broadband investment remains.
And that problem is SPECTRUM.
And if there's something we know a little bit about, it's the need for more spectrum.
Check out this very excellent article written by Jeff Kagen at E-Commerce Times, "Let's Solve the Real Wireless Problem: Spectrum Shortage" http://www.technewsworld.com/s...
Typically Republican organization joins with Legislative leaders for a press conference this morning
From the "huh?" department:
Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A Pérez will be joined by leaders of the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and other legislators to announce proposals to improve California's business climate and create much-needed jobs.
A press conference to detail the effort will be held today, September 1, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 317 of the State Capitol. Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Pérez (D-Los Angeles) will be joined by Cal Chamber president and CEO Allan Zaremberg, and CMTA president Jack Stewart.
We'll let you know more later today, but guesses are welcome.
Update: well, I guess I should have known, they're going after "regulation":
New business regulations proposed in California would be reviewed for their effect on the economy of the most-populous state under a bill introduced by Democratic leaders who control the state Assembly and Senate.
Senate President Pro-tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez outlined the plan at a news conference with the presidents of the California Chamber of Commerce, the state's largest business group, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.(Bloomberg)
Ahh, that evil bastard "regulation" reaching into the cribs of jobs everywhere and strangling them. In reality what needs to be done is to reduce duplicative regulation, where we have agencies overlapping. If done wrong, simply to gut environmental and labor regulations, well, it will be bad.
When last we met, it was to discuss a Big Idea that the Obama Administration might apply to get some job creation going, despite a difficult Congress; the Big Idea was to look at the "Buy American" provisions that exist in our laws, regulations, and Executive Orders and see if we could practice a bit of "jobs arbitrage" by not just meeting the "Made in USA" requirements when governments across this country make purchases, but exceeding them.
(As it stands today, pretty much any "good or service" with more than 50% Made in USA content qualifies as a Made in USA purchase, even if 49% of the "good or service" comes from somewhere else).
At the time, I told you that if all went well we could look forward to comments from both Labor and the Administration as to the practicality of the Big Idea, and as it turns out I have comments for you that hit close to that mark - and a bit more besides:
On Saturday I just happened to bump into Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09); in the course of that conversation I told him what we're doing here, and he wanted to offer a few thoughts of his own...and when you put all that together, I think we're going to have a lot to talk about.
Few topics today are generating as much discussion as the seemingly insatiable demand for mobile data and how our country is going to keep pace with it. The United States has set a national goal to provide 98 percent of Americans with broadband access within the next five years. LightSquared is stepping up to help make this a reality. We are contributing $14 billion in private investment over the next eight years to build a nationwide wireless broadband network using 4G-LTE technology integrated with satellite coverage. This represents a $14 billion private sector-not government-investment in America's infrastructure.
The deployment and management of the LightSquared network will, in turn, create new jobs. We expect to generate more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in each of the next five years. And that's just the beginning of what the LightSquared network will help bring to California and across the country.
LightSquared will offer network capacity on a wholesale-only basis. This is a dramatic departure from the current vertically integrated model in the wireless industry, and it will open the broadband market to new players such as retailers, cable companies, and device manufacturers, to name a few. This means that end users - consumers like you - will enjoy the benefits of innovation, increased competition, and choice.
We gotta grow some jobs, and that's a fact, and we probably aren't going to be able to do it with big ol' jobs programs funded by the Federal Government, what with today's politics and all, and that means if this Administration wants to stay in the jobs game they're going to have to find some smaller and more creative ways to do it.
They are also going to have to come up with ideas that are pretty much "bulletproof", meaning that they are so hard to object to that even Allen West and Louie Gohmert will not want to be on record saying "no no no!"; alternatively, solutions that work around the legislative process entirely could represent the other form of "bulletproof-ery".
Well, I have one of those "maybe bulletproof" ideas for you today, and it has to do with how "Made in USA" the things are that our Government buys.
For the past few months I have watched as stable and volatile Middle Eastern nations alike were shaken to the core by protests.
Although many of these protests were peaceful, some were not, and the response of the totalitarian regimes involved has been anything but peaceful.
As a retired vet, I think the Mideast unrest should teach us an important lesson - anything can happen at any time around the world, and our military needs to be ready.
Without the continual development of military equipment and technology, we may be caught off guard and overwhelmed by any number of catastrophic scenarios. I believe that the full and rapid development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is essential to our military preparedness.
As a veteran I can tell you that the difference between the best equipment and the next-best does not just bear a financial toll, but a death toll as well. From everything I read, the F-35 will make our pilots more effective in the air, maximize our troops chance of success on the ground, and bring more of our military men and women home safe.
I hope our leaders in Congress take this under consideration and come out in support of full funding of the F-35.