California is broke. Its nearly bankrupt status leaves residents with few financial resources to deal with imaginary threats to health and safety.
Yet in the face of an economic meltdown, the state still allows special interests to dictate high cost administrative procedures.
The reasons California is suffering severe economic woes is clear: It has the highest sales tax in the country and the 6th largest overall tax burden. As its voluminous environmental restrictions are based on political interests rather than sound science, they significantly hamper the ability of California’s entrepreneurs to conduct business profitably.
According to a recent California Legislative report, regulation costs Golden State businesses approximately $493B in lost output and 3.8M jobs – resulting in a tax revenue loss of $16M.
The annual regulatory burden per person is $13K.
Radical environmental groups, trial lawyers and fellow-traveling bureaucrats who have thus far collaborated to reduce the state to its current financial condition appear to have no concern for the heavy cost of their undue influence. In fact, in the face of a recent defeat handed by California to environmental activists, they are gearing up to hand the state taxpayers yet another bill for the same complaint.
The California Development and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DART-IC) operates under the state’s Safe Water and Toxic Enforcement Act to identifying and ban harmful chemicals in water. Like most California agencies, it generally leans left.
Yet in July 2009, DART-IC determined that Bisphenol A (BPA), a major component in plastic products was safe and refused to classify it as a toxicant under California’s strict safe drinking laws.
BPA is a resin used in sports and baby bottles, shatterproof windows, medical devices and other consumer and commercial products. DART-IC’s decision was based on testimony as well as reports from the National Toxicology Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, and investigative scientific bodies in Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU, all of which found BPA posed no threat.
Enter the media, trial lawyers and environmental extremists.
Last year the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at Virginia’s George Mason University applied statistical methodology to the BPA story and found the media ignored all of the research that pointed to BPA’s safety.
Trial lawyers are already trolling for plaintiffs. In one Missouri case, the judge all but outright dismissed a BPA case even before trial. As trial lawyers cannot find a single damaged consumer, there are no injury claims. The basis of their case is “fraud and dishonest marketing.”
In the alternate universe that is the trial bar, BPA manufacturers and distributors are being sued for not adding warning labels that would say, in effect, “this product has been deemed safe by numerous government and scientific bodies but some special interest groups still don’t like it.”
Before the ink on the DART-IC determination was dry, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a far left environmental group, used bureaucratic chicanery to bring the issue to another arm of California’s government –asking for BPA to be declared unsafe.
Environmental extremists cannot abuse themselves of the false notion that BPA is harmful. They’ve created a political movement around it, raised money on it, and the trial bar has contributed heavily to that effort for obvious, self-serving reasons.
But BPA does have positive effects on humans and the economy. More than 103,000 Americans are employed directly or indirectly by the BPA industry at 1400 facilities. Its nearly $15B in yearly sales and wages of $6.5B result in jobs and revenue from sales, property and income taxes.
The original DART-IC process cost Californians taxpayers a great deal of money. The NRDC’s use of an alternate administrative process will cost them a great deal more.
A recent Bloomberg analysis of California’s economic status noted that Kazakhstan is a better investment risk than the Golden State. Some economists are even equating California’s financial woes to the impending collapse of Greece.
This February, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet fully retracted a biased and unsound study published in 1998 that claimed a link between vaccines and autism. The study started an anti-vaccine movement that caused many parents to withhold vaccines from their children. Some children suffered and many died from preventable illnesses – based on a lie.
In a state where every nickel counts, can its government afford to spend more money – based on yet another lie – on an issue that is already settled? Can all California consumers afford the high cost of “BPA-free” products – the NRDC’s ultimate goal?
California must make its decisions based on consumer and economic concerns as well as sound science – and just say no to pressure from special interests whose only concerns are their own.