From the APP:
With Al Gore watching, Gov. Corzine signed the Global Warming Response Act into law earlier this month. That makes New Jersey the third state, following California and Hawaii, to enact such a law. Eight more are considering similar measures, but none is as aggressive as New Jersey’s.
The legislation requires the state to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. No other state has set goals so far into the future, and no other state has required energy imports to adhere to these standards as well.
The bill drew broad bipartisan support. Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., for instance, said enthusiastically, “having seen the direction that the Congressional Democrats intend to take on this crucial issue, I could not agree more strongly with those sentiments.”
There are clearly feel-good political points to be gained on the global warming issue, but what effect can the New Jersey state government actually have on global climate change? Consider the ambitious Kyoto Protocol, which seeks significant worldwide cuts in emissions. The National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates of lower global temperatures with full implementation of Kyoto are so negligible it would never justify the economic costs.
If the United States cannot make a material impact on climate change, it’s the height of folly to think a single state, New Jersey, can. Even if all industry ceased to exist in New Jersey, and the state never emitted another molecule of carbon dioxide, the effect on global climate would be meaningless.
This is all about symbolism, of course, and Corzine and Gore hope to set an example for other states and countries, they say. Unfortunately, that symbolism will cost many New Jersey workers and entrepreneurs their livelihood. New Jersey has lost 8,000 private sector jobs in seven years, and this “politically correct” feel-good nonsense will accelerate that sorry trend.
New Jersey is a major petroleum refining state and is one of the primary suppliers of petroleum products to the Northeast. It’s also one reason why gasoline prices are low in our state. This law will cripple that industry, costing the state one of its few remaining engines of growth, and it will serve as a hidden gasoline tax on every motorist in New Jersey.
The law broadly provides for state supervision and regulation of emissions, but it contains no specific proposals to lower emissions. That makes it difficult to determine exactly how much implementation will cost, which means the Legislature and governor enacted the law without even the possibility of a cost-benefit analysis. Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, noted the discussion of the ends but not the means was reminiscent of the Highlands Act, which took away local zoning powers and gave them to the state.
With one of the highest state and local tax burdens in the country and the third worst business climate, according to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey’s future looks more bleak every day. New Jersey was once an engine of prosperity and the envy of the nation.
The state capital’s famous motto: “Trenton Makes, the World Takes,” is a painful reminder our once powerful industrial economy is being strangled out of existence by taxes and regulation. Businesses don’t have to locate in New Jersey — they can easily move to Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida or China.
It’s a huge mistake to impose enormous economic costs on the state for feel-good symbolism that will have a negligible impact on global climate. The New Jersey economy is already in a hole. It’s time to stop digging and focus on cutting taxes and bringing jobs back to our state, not posing for photos with celebrities. Unfortunately, Corzine and his legislative allies are more in tune with their Hollywood idols than with New Jersey’s overtaxed working families.