Chamber Board Takes Action on New Round of Pending Legislation and Regulation
The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors took action at their recent meeting to support the Keystone XL Pipeline. The full pipeline would bring up to 700,000 barrels a day from the Canadian oil sands region to Cushing, Oklahoma and then to the Gulf region of the United States. This project would immediately create thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs. Studies show that 250,000 permanent jobs will be created as a result over the long term. The northern portion of the pipeline needs approval from the Obama administration because it crosses the Canadian border. The US Chamber’s Energy Institute supports the full project and has a letter writing campaign to the President encouraging approval.
The Board of Directors also will oppose Proposition 29, which will impose an additional tax on cigarettes for cancer research. Currently the state of California has an excise tax of 87 cents per pack, the federal government imposes an excise tax of $1.01 per pack and there are other sales and use taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products that go to the state and local governments. The average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in California currently is over $5.
Proposition 29 will impose a $735 million annual tax and spending mandate. This flawed and poorly drafted measure would create a new, unaccountable state bureaucracy filled with political appointees. The measure will be voted on in the June 2012 election.
Furthermore, it will hurt retailers and small business. More than 38,000 retailers in California sell tobacco, and cigarettes. Those sales account for nearly 37% of all sales at convenience stores.
Finally, this measure doesn’t require the new tax revenue to be spent in California. The money can be spent out of the state or even outside of the United States.
The Chamber continues advocacy efforts to support construction of the the Keystone XL Pipeline and AB 890 (Olsen) in addition to efforts to oppose S.2204 (US), AB 1450 (Allen) (CA), AB 1740 (Perez) (CA) and AB 1648 Brownley (CA). The Chamber urges you use www.bakersfieldadvocacy.org to track pending legislation and Take Action to contact your elected representatives regarding specific issues. By doing so you help represent the interests of our local business community and impact legislation that can impact your business.