California Cities: Calling Trees “Urban Forests” to Extract New Taxes

News from California that city governments are preparing to use the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions reduction law, passed in 2006, to raise revenue – for doing what they’ve been doing for years.

In this case, Long Beach, a Southern California port city that’s California’s eighth-largest, plans on registering its 393,000 trees in the state’s carbon-trading market. By having bureaucrats call the trees an “urban forest,” inventorying them, and then filing paperwork, the city can sell carbon offset credits to businesses that need them to comply with California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The irony here is that the City of Long Beach will emit more greenhouse gasses on the additional city employees they will need to manage the regulatory compliance paperwork just so the city can extract money from California consumers for doing what the city has done with their trees for decades anyway. How much money is there to be had? The California Manufacturers and Technology Association estimates the cost for the average California family at $3,400 every year in higher prices for energy, transportation and other essentials.

Thus, California inflicts another blow to its competitiveness, giving job-creating businesses another reason to look to Texas.

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