Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Governator has the Cahoolies

Just in case you haven't heard, that legendary cigar chomping tough guy, Hummer driver and California Governor, has sent a sculpture of bulls testicles to lawmakers in a wry attempt to suggest greater fiscal and legislative courage was needed to make unpopular decisions in tough economic times.

Governor Schwarzennegger has however not been making the really hard decisions, when it comes to putting the bite on the heavy hitting oilmen who so far have been getting a free ride on taxation, and enjoy massive state sponsored benefits.

I was reading about all of this, after receiving an interesting email from Doug Korthof:
Sleazy California politicians join corrupt regulators in proposing new handouts to Big Oil, this time allowing new offshore oil drilling. This is the WRONG way to go, we need to leave all oil, especially exotic and expensive oil, IN THE GROUND, not pay subsidies to help drill it up and burn it.

Chevron admitted to the California Coastal Commission that they dump their "drilling spoils" in the Ocean because "it's too toxic to barge to land, we'd need an air resources permit". Now, they are asking for new drilling, and new threats to the Ocean, instead of paying their fair share of taxes.

(thanks Doug) and it occurred to me that we have a tough decision maker right here in Queensland that could show the Governator what it means to have the Cahoolies.

What I'm talking about is Premier Anna Bligh's excellent policy of abolishing fuel subsidies. These subsidies, like such subsidies everwhere go into the pockets of the fuel companies and fail to help the farmers and the bushies.

I sent Premier Anna Bligh MP a letter - which is only very slightly tongue-in-cheek - commending her administration on the policy, and suggesting that she tell her fellow state politician in the northern hemisphere how we roll up our sleeves down under.

Here's the text of the letter, faxed recently:

Anna Bligh MP
Premier of Queensland
PO Box 15185
City East Queensland 4002

Dear Ms Bligh

Your government is to be commended on its stand on fuel subsidies.

Removing these subsidies is not, as some have tried to say, a new tax, but a removal of an iniquitous burden on the tax-payers of Queensland, and an end to a system that rewarded wasteful and greedy behavior, whilst failing to help regional Queensland.

Additionally for too long those who maintained wasteful and negligent practices with regard to their own motor vehicles, have been subsidised by those of us who mindful of the environment and our energy security try to reduce usage of fossil fuels. The end to the subsidy is welcomed by those of us that want to see clean air for our children to breathe and a reduction in the hemorrhage of cash to foreign oil producing nations.

As a Software Engineer I recently returned to Brisbane from working in California's Silicon Valley.

As a Brisbane resident, rate-payer and voter, I am proud of the initiatives our state is promoting in these very difficult economic circumstances. Its a chance to make far-sighted reform for long term good. While Queensland works to define itself as the Smart State, these new measures of removing the fuel subsidy are world beating, and are to a standard of independence from industry influence, and courageous right-thinking that the Governor of California ought to aspire.

I would like to suggest that the Bligh Government send Governor Schwarzennegger a statement of support for his planned new tax regime, as his administration struggles to address terrible budgetary problems in the State of California. It might be appropriate to remind him of the previously planned tax on oil production which
according the Los Angeles times:
How embarrassing is it for California to be hanging out there alone? That outstanding anti-tax crusader, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in 2007 raised her state’s tax to 25% of the value of extracted oil and gas. ... At the current world benchmark price of about $70, the 6% tax contemplated by Proposition 87 would have generated more than $1 billion a year
Instead of raising these much needed taxes it seems independence from industry influence requires a fortitude that is lacking, as California's watchdogs:
dismissed assurances from the Schwarzenegger administration that his panel's
independence would not be eroded. ...
"You've taken the position of destroying several decades of work by this commission," he told Sheehy, pointing out that it was established in
the late 1930s after an oil scandal had snared state officials.
It would be a great thing for Queensland to show its international credentials by reaching out to another state as it too struggles to manage energy policy in the face of public opinion, industry pressure and challenging financial circumstances.

Again I would like to congratulate your government on this policy, and hope it continues to show its world beating standards in governance and independence while also demonstrating good fiscal management in these difficult economic times.

I'm sure someone at the Premier's office fell of their chair with surprise at actually receiving a positive message regarding the fuel policy.

But its time we started paying the actual cost of the black gold. The fact that there is a federal tax does not in anyway construe this new policy of removing the state subsidy as a "new tax".

That removal of the subsidy is somehow a tax is a bizarre construction, straight from the spin-merchants hired by vested interests. Those vested interests want to keep up their unsustainable practices, filling our air with tail-pipe emissions, and they want our tax dollars to pay for it.

Bravo for a Premier with the cahoolies to say no!