• Re: 'Sick and tired' of high gas prices, California seeks to punish oil

    From Newsome is an asshole@21:1/5 to governor.swill@gmail.com on Tue Dec 6 14:55:14 2022
    XPost: ca.politics, talk.politics.guns, sac.politics
    XPost: alt.fan.rush-limbaugh

    In article <st9en5$rrdk$6@news.freedyn.de>
    <governor.swill@gmail.com> wrote:

    Democrat crooks in action.

    California lawmakers on Monday introduced legislation to
    penalize oil companies for alleged price gouging, setting up a
    showdown with an industry that has long wielded political
    influence in the Golden State. At the urging of Gov. Gavin
    Newsom, California Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, D-
    Berkeley, proposed a new bill that would levy a penalty on oil
    companies when their profits exceeded a legally-established
    threshold. The money raised by the penalty would then be placed
    in a fund that would be directed back to taxpayers in the form
    of rebates. But the initial bill language is vague, failing to
    define the profit threshold that oil companies would be
    penalized for exceeding and lacking an explanation of who would
    be eligible for the rebates. Newsom said those specifics will be
    sorted out over the course of the special session. The move
    comes two months after the Democratic governor first unveiled a
    plan to levy a windfall profits tax on oil companies that were
    running up record earnings while Californians were getting
    squeezed at the pump. He subsequently called for a special
    session beginning to hammer out the plan. “These guys have been
    gaming the system for decades,” Newsom said Monday about the oil
    and gas industry. “... I think we’ve got a lot of remarkable
    legislative leaders here that get it and they’re sick and tired
    of paying the price in terms of dirty air.”

    Getting a first-of-its-kind penalty like this through the
    Legislature and to the governor’s desk will not be without its
    challenges. Along with the opening of the special session,
    Monday also marked the first day of the regular legislative
    session. This meant a new class of lawmakers were sworn into
    office — some of whom were elevated to a state office with
    backing from the oil industry and its associated trade unions.
    One oil-funded political action committee spent more than $8
    million this year backing candidates it thought might be helpful
    in fending off a possible windfall penalty. CALIFORNIA DEALS
    WITH HIGH GAS PRICE SPIKES Newsom proposed the tax when
    Californians were paying $2.60 per gallon more than the national
    average — an unprecedented margin even in a state known for its
    high gas prices.

    Although California’s high taxes and environmental fees factor
    into the disparity, Newsom and proponents of the penalty say
    that doesn’t completely explain what was happening at the time.
    California gas prices kept climbing as the price of crude oil
    dropped. Newsom said that’s because oil companies were taking
    advantage of California drivers to rake in unprecedented
    profits. California gas prices have dropped significantly since
    then, but Newsom argues the price-gouging measure is still
    needed to deter future price spikes. Newsom did not say how much
    money Californians could expect to receive if an oil company
    still decided to hike up the price of gasoline above the state-
    designated threshold. And as for how the refunds would be
    distributed, he suggested it could be done in a similar fashion
    as this year’s inflation relief checks and the 2021 Golden State
    Stimulus. In both cases, leaders used the Franchise Tax Board to
    send taxpayers money through direct deposit or mailed debit
    cards. “I hope we never have to go there,” Newsom said. “Because
    I hope the oil companies change their ways.” The bill also calls
    for expanding the powers of the California Energy Commission and
    the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration to allow them
    to investigate and obtain information from oil companies on
    their costs, supply levels and operations. Oil companies hoped
    to see more specific language on the penalty proposal after
    months of discussion, said Kevin Slagle, a spokesman for the
    Western States Petroleum Association. He said market forces,
    environmental regulations and public policy are responsible for
    high gas prices. “Overall, it’s still the wrong approach to
    driving lower energy costs in the state,” Slagle said. PRICE-
    GOUGING PENALTY VERSUS TAX Over time, the Democratic governor
    has changed his rhetoric around the proposal, retiring the term
    “windfall tax” and instead referring to it as a “price gouging
    penalty.” It’s a shift that could help win over more moderate
    Democrats and provide more wiggle room for the votes needed to
    pass the measure. Passing a tax in the Legislature would require
    two-thirds support while a cap or penalty only needs a simple
    majority. When asked about the deviation, Newsom said his
    proposal “went down a different path, a much better path.” He
    said the legislative vote threshold was “not a part of my
    consciousness.” Democratic lawmakers were hopeful about the new
    penalty’s chances in the Legislature. But Republicans suggested
    the move will do little to change gas prices, and lawmakers are
    better off suspending the state’s gas tax and increasing
    statewide oil production. Assemblyman Alex Lee, D-San José, who
    floated a similar idea last year, was optimistic about getting a
    proposal passed but acknowledged there would likely be a
    difficult road ahead. ”I think in times of crisis, we have more
    momentum,” Lee said. “Now we’re talking about the future and
    being proactive, so it might be harder.” Assemblyman Vince Fong,
    R-Kern County, said the penalty will do nothing to lower gas
    prices and that it will actually “have the opposite effect.” “If
    we are going to to really hone in on energy, let’s have the
    debate,” Fong said. “But what the governor’s proposal is going
    to do, is it’s going to increase the cost of energy production
    in California. And that’s going to make us more dependent on
    foreign countries, like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Ecuador — countries
    that don’t share our values.” Fong suggested the Legislature
    should instead suspend the gas tax and backfill the lost revenue
    with general fund dollars, a proposal Republicans repeatedly
    pushed during the previous legislative session. “The governor
    always says that the budget reflects values and priorities,”
    Fong said. “If the governor’s No. 1 priority is to reduce the
    price of gasoline on hardworking Californians, prioritize it —
    make it No. 1.”

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol- alert/article269543677.html

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