Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:
Dorothy Rothrock (Capitol Weekly, Oct. 1) claims that she can’t find how the California Air Resources Board spent $47 million dollars to pay for administration of AB 32 from 2007 to 2009. Ms. Rothrock and her trade association attack ARB’s credibility as a way to deflect the legislative requirement that they pay their fair share of the cost of implementing AB32.  

She could have saved thousands in legal fees by reading the documents posted on ARB’s website explaining exactly where and how the money was spent.

The Initial Statement of Reasons, a 141-page document that outlines the data and the findings that support the fee regulation, includes two very important tables detailing costs on a year-by-year basis.

Table 3a , updated on June 11, 2009, covers fiscal year 2007-08 and  reveals exactly the hours of all 21 separate job classifications that worked on AB 32, from Air Pollutions Engineers  to Supervising Librarian. This resulted in salaries of $10,611,546 and benefits of $3,724,653. Combine that with detailed expenses for printing, postage, training, travel and the like ($4,161, 400), add an additional $6,696,481 for contracts, equipment and administrative overhead, and you arrive at the grand total of $25,193,775 for fiscal year 2007/08.

A similar and equally detailed breakdown by job classification, benefits, and enumerated expenses reveals a cost of $38,889,906 for fiscal year 2008-2009.

The grand total for both years is $64,083,681.  (Ms. Rothrock’s calculation of a missing $47 million is a mathematical mystery.)
ARB’s cost tables are subject to review by both the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office.   Unlike private associations that can hire PR firms and consultants at will, ARB is a public agency with a longstanding and established reputation for public and transparent processes. In addition to the documents that are part of the record, ARB held four workshops on the fee regulation in the nine months we spent developing it, not counting the public hearing before the Board in September.

When Ms. Rothrock and her associates (who include WSPA, CalChamber, Cal-Tax, CMTA, CIOMA, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Business Properties Association) asked for more, we promptly supplied them with over 8,000 pages including copies of staff internal emails discussing development of the draft rule. They filed suit demanding more. Last month a judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court agreed that we had indeed provided all relevant information and tossed out their suit on summary judgment.

So here’s a simple question for Ms. Rothrock: Why call yourself the AB32 Implementation Group when it is clear that your efforts are focused on delay?

Mary D. Nichols,
Chair, Air Resources Board

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