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Jerry Brown, Can Fiji Make You a Wimp?

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 4:48 am

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Jerry Brown, Can Fiji Make You a Wimp?

The wee island nation of Fiji managed Wednesday to back down a California-owned company and extract a fee of 8 US cents per liter on Fiji Water. The state of California can’t even manage to back down Big Oil and charge a few cents a gallon on oil pumped out of its public lands. Jerry Brown, are you listening?

The Fiji Water story was the David and Goliath tale of the day. But Fiji Water owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick apparently lack the lobbying might of Chevron, Exxon and their Big Oil friends. The oil lobby has swatted like so many flies California’s attempts to impose a fee that every other major oil-producing state collects.

Alaska’s extraction tax is up to 25%, hauling in $6 billion a year, keeping the state budget in the black and helping pay out up to thousands of dollars per Alaskan every year as an oil-wealth bonus.

It’s not like Californians haven’t tried. A 2006 ballot intitiative, Proposition 87, would have collected 1.5% to 6% of the value of oil pumped from California to fund green energy–a maximum of about 3 cents a liter at current oil prices. Initially popular, it was cut down by a withering, duplicitious ad campaign funded largely by Chevron, Exxon, Occidental Oil and Shell.

A few brave state legislators introduced similar bills as California descended into a deficit mire. Chevron gave lavishly to the pet causes of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and oil interests spent millions lobbying the state Legislature to make the extraction fee go away without even a vote.

Now California’s budget is about to be $25 million in the red, after fake attempts by the last Legislature to fix the deficit. Incoming Gov. Brown has foolishly said he can fix the deficit without new taxes. But I suspect there aren’t many ordinary voters who oppose an oil extraction tax these days–a recent poll found that if there have to be new taxes, a plurality would tax oil companies first. An extraction tax is not in the same league as the property tax, and won’t even raise gas prices if it’s structured right. It’s a billion dollars or so a year laying on the ground right in front of the new governor.

So, Gov-to-be Brown, whose day are you going to make? Chevron’s or Californians’? Can you match the guts of Fiji?

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This post was written by:

Judy Dugan

- who has written 655 posts on Oil Watchdog.

Judy Dugan concentrates as an advocate on health care reforms, oil industry issues and telecommunications. She also writes and edits foundation publications and conducts media outreach.

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2 Responses to “Jerry Brown, Can Fiji Make You a Wimp?”

  1. Earl Richards Says:

    Governor Jerry Brown has to create the California Oil Price Regulation Commission (COPRA) to prevent Californians from paying an excessive price for oil and to control the price of oil in California. The oil companies, collectively, are similiar to a public utility because there is no business competition to keep the price of gasoline down. Therefore, the oil companies have to be tightly regulated by the Commission, in the public interest, to ensure that there is no price fixing, no price gouging, no fraud, no excessive profiteering, no lax safety standards, no environmental destruction, no public health risks, no accounting tricks, no transfer pricing, no collusion, no corruption and illegal tax loopholes.

    The Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the FTC are ineffective in controlling the oil corporations; therefore, the state has to form COPRA, to receive and investigate compliants, in the comsumers’ interest, and to regulate the California oil industry. The price of gasoline has to be decided by COPRA and not decided by the fraudulent “round-trip” trades of the “dark-pool” trading in the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in Atlanta,the price of oil and gasoline is not decided by OPEC. ICE operates outside U.S. law and is owned by the international Big Oil/big banking cabal. The price differential between the ICE price and the lower, California price for gasoline has to be decide by COPRA, and not decided by the market manipulation and the excessive speculation of non-California interests. ICE is a super Enron. Google “The Global Oil Scam”. Oil is too critical a resource to be under the contol of greedy stockholders, greedy directors, greedy executives and arrogant and greedy oil/banking corporations. Exxon and Chevron are super Enrons.

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