As a small business owner who has lived in both California and Nevada, I know firsthand that California’s costly energy policies have been a failure. The high cost of energy is just one of many anti-business California policies that cause so many productive citizens to leave the state for Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah and Idaho.
That’s why I am opposed to Question 6. This proposal is backed by Tom Steyer, a politically ambitious hedge fund billionaire based in San Francisco. Ballotpedia lists his group as the sole donor to Question 6, having contributed nearly $2 million to the campaign so far. If approved, Question 6 would export the same failed energy policies that have played a major role in California losing 40 percent of its industrial base since 2000.
In fact, almost 1 million Californians have moved to Texas and 1 in 4 Nevadans is now an ex-Californian. The number of Californians fleeing now constitutes the largest West to East migration in American history, and policies like Question 6 are to blame.
As is already law in California, Question 6 would mandate Nevadans purchase 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. One simply needs to compare Nevada’s current energy prices to California’s to see what will result. California’s industrial energy costs are more than double Nevada’s and residential rates are nearly 60 percent higher.
Keeping energy costs low in Nevada is critical to efforts to diversify our economy – energy costs are one of the biggest factors of production in the high-paying manufacturing sector. As California has seen its industrial base flee, other states where energy costs are low such as Louisiana and South Carolina, have seen their manufacturing sectors expand.
Question 6 would harm the poor and the working poor especially, reducing access to good jobs that offer middle class salaries, regular hours, and benefits, on top of higher utility bills for everyone.
Finally, voters would be wise to consider that Question 6 amends the State Constitution. We can’t try it and then stop it at will if we realize we made a mistake. The only way we could undo Question 6 would be with another Constitutional Amendment.
Question 6 is a misguided plan that Nevada can’t afford. To get involved in the effort to fight Question 6, people can visit http://NoQuestion6.com to learn more.
Eric Eisenhammer is founder of the Coalition of Energy Users, a nonprofit organization for affordable energy and quality jobs.