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Tax Fighter Warns ‘Big Problems for California’s Income-Based Utility Rates’

Trying to shoehorn an income component into utility rates converts ‘ratepayers’ into ‘taxpayers’

By Katy Grimes, April 24, 2023 6:55 am

Last week the Globe reported that Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric had just filed a proposal to create income-based utility billing.

Currently, utility bills are based on electricity and gas consumption. The utility companies are now proposing income-based utility billing so that higher-income earners pay for more than they use, subsidizing the rates for lower income customers.

This outrageous proposal isn’t the only of its kind. The Biden Administration is proposing a tax (penalty) for having good credit. Mortgage borrowers with good credit will pay higher fees so borrowers with lower credit scores can get loans.

We reported on a 2021 report from the University of California at Berkeley recommending that the state link California’s highest-in-the-nation electricity bills to customer incomes – ie. your ability to pay.

Authors Severin Borenstein (an economist), Meredith Fowlie, and Jim Sallee of the UC Berkeley and the Energy Institute at Haas admit that California’s electricity rates are so high, lower-income households pay a larger share of their income on electricity.

Rather than using all available energy sources to create energy abundance, the Berkeley report proposes “cutting back on the volumetric per-kilowatt-hour charges on customers’ bills and recovering the missing money through constructs tied to customers’ income.”

And the Legislature and Governor approved this scheme through AB 205, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in June of last year claiming it was needed because the wild swings in utility prices that California experiences.

California has the highest electricity rates in the country. “Those costs could rise even faster over the next decade, as utilities harden their grids against wildfires, grow their share of net-metered rooftop solar and add other costs that will be passed through to utility customers,” Next 10 reported over two years ago.

Since we reported last week, many have recognized “the state’s perpetual march toward a collectivist state,” as Jon Coupal just reported.

Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, explains AB 205 is even worse because the bill “bypassed many of the normal procedures for enacting legislation. It did this because it was a so-called ‘budget trailer bill.’”

“While the ‘budget bill’ is constitutionally mandated to be enacted by June 15, it only passes by that date for one reason — so the legislators can continue to receive their paychecks.”

“Moreover, after the enactment of the budget, there are so-called ‘junior budget bills’ amending the fake June 15th budget as well as last-minute ‘budget trailer bills’ directing the spending of billions in ways that the budget bill itself did not direct.”

“AB 205, the ‘energy trailer bill,’ received scant public attention and no meaningful public hearings were held. But its impacts are profound, and not in a good way.”

Is this new utility charge a tax or fee?

Coupal explains:

“Trying to shoehorn an income component into utility rates converts ‘ratepayers’ into ‘taxpayers,’ and Californians have had their fill of high taxes.”

The difference between a tax and a fee is more than semantics.

Taxes are imposed for generalized government services like education, public safety, transportation, and even for a reasonable safety net for the less fortunate.

But a “fee” or “charge” has always correlated to the receipt of a specific service.

There is some good news in the face of California’s race to Marxism. Coupal explains:

“A coalition of taxpayer and business organizations have already qualified the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA) for the 2024 ballot. Among its many provisions is not only further clarification of what a ‘tax’ is but also a provision that requires any tax to be approved by a legislative body rather than some administrative agency or other authority not directly accountable to voters.”

California’s politicians and unelected agency leaders are limiting energy sources rather than using an all-of-the-above approach to energy production in California: Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind.

If all we are allowed to use is renewable energy for electricity production – a deliberate energy shortage – statewide shortages and rolling blackouts inevitably become the new California normal. “We are being conditioned to accept this as normal by some very evil leaders,” we said. Fortunately, Jon Coupal says “this battle on behalf of California’s beleaguered taxpayers and ratepayers is not over.”

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17 thoughts on “Tax Fighter Warns ‘Big Problems for California’s Income-Based Utility Rates’

  1. This scheme CANNOT happen. If it does we’re finished.
    This sneaky trailer bill nonsense (AB 205) has been done before. As we’re being bombarded 24/7/365 with a avalanche of ridiculous, irrelevant legislation, how convenient is it that somehow the huge ruinous commie crap is somehow sneaked in the back door! Then no one knows about it until THIS unacceptable energy-triggered wealth-redistribution B.S. rears its ugly head.
    Meanwhile, let’s not forget that our scoundrel leadership’s Green Schemes caused energy to become unaffordable for those the Dem/Marxists have always pretended to champion in the first place.
    How about this: Everything that was passed by the legislature, signed by the Gov, sneaked in through the budget, gutted and amended at the midnight hour, or executive ordered by the Gov, during our “pandemic state of emergency” in CA, which we now know was a fully fake theatrical production, is illegitimate and should be thrown out. After all, a citizenry under “state of emergency” caused by a paralyzing “pandemic threat” is unable to respond to an out-of-control governor and legislature the way it would without that threat. Was there a deadly health threat that disrupted all of our lives for three years or wasn’t there? Which is it, Dear Leaders?

  2. This is CRAZY and is NOT a Left vs Right issue. This is a naked power grab by the utilities and their entrenched allies. Progressives and conservatives, right and left ALL need to speak out and kill this awful idea in the crib.

  3. Don’t worry. You can have unlimited power usage and be able to charge your electric car for free. The power will be on for 3 hours in the afternoon and you can charge your car once a week if you can find a recharge station open. On the other hand, if you are a card carrying member of the government this does not apply.

  4. Five out of six commissioners on the California Public Utilities Commision are lawyers with ZERO background in engineering or science. Most of them have degrees in political science – which isn’t science, it’s a glorified history degree.
    The president of the CPUC – one of the lawyers – was probably a classmate of governor Newsom’s at Santa Clara University. Such a farce.

    1. A political science degree is not a “glorified history degree.” It’s more like a degraded history degree. History, at least traditionally, is grounded in facts. Historical researchers generally used scientifically based methodologies. Of course, many things are subject to interpretation so it is not as objective as mathematics or physics. Political science always used to be the absolute lowest and least demanding “discipline.” Now that such things as “gender studies” [name your supposedly oppressed racial or ethnic group] studies, etc. have come along there are degrees that are even worse than political science, but history is quite a solid degree.

  5. What about equal protection? If our federal Supreme Court is not afraid, this is an ideal subject for a historic ruling, one which could also strike-down taxes based on income.

  6. I suspect this is actually an energy rationing scheme. You get a low rate but with strings. The catch is you get a really low cap on what you are allowed to use.

  7. Do you just make this up? The Biden is going to charge people with good credit to pay for people with bad credit. This is nonsense. This is why the left sucks, but the right is totally ridiculous. Zinger… California has the highest electricity rates in the country. Yes, and why? We know that they were completely deregulated in 25 years ago, and nothing has stopped them from raising rates relentlessly. What is raising rates relentlessly – a tax. And why? to make sure that the stockholders and bondholders all all good. Then, stick it to the taxpayers. Supposedly you hate that, but you don’t.

  8. The best back door to this increasingly dysfunctional and parasitic system is to de-couple your needs from it as much as possible. There are plenty of “off-grid” lifestyles and reduced consumption patterns that reinforce autonomy, liberty, and can preserve our republic (or at least our traditions and way of life). Looking for a political solution to an energy problem is a recipe for starvation or dying of exposure. If it is tied to the grid, any grid, dump it.

    1. I agree with the “opt-out” advice I heard recently. Not just with this but with everything —– as much as it is possible to do. Enough people “opting-out” (non-compliance) is what likely threw a monkey wrench into grander plans to implement all sorts of things that were intended to manage the hoped-for compliant herd during the “pandemic.”

  9. No taxation without representation!! I disagree to pay any more payroll, property, sales tax and any other bs tax for the irresponsible and completely not supported looney ideas of these left wing nuts.

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