One of the least mentioned election day stories is that California – yes, California – rejected a punitive tax on oil production that would have funded alternative energy research:
Proposition 87 was portrayed as a battle between liberal Hollywood and Big Oil in a state that has long blazed a trail in environmental causes and has one of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction laws in the world.
But the measure, which was bankrolled in large part by real estate heir and Hollywood producer Stephen Bing and would tax oil production in California for the first time, was criticized as likely to raise energy prices for consumers.
And Californians, who already pay some of the highest gas prices in the country, were seen as reluctant to tack on another tax, even in the name of progress…
Even the Los Angeles Times, which tends to lean left in its editorials, called Prop 87 “nutty” and said that research into alternative energy sources was already booming in the state — driven by the market, not government.
All of which tends to demonstrate that talk of “Pigou Taxes” on energy use to correct perceived problems arising from energy use is pretty much pie-in-the-sky. Californians voted for the benefits brought to society by affordable energy. Good for them.