Bill to Create CPUC Office of Economic Development

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, March 5, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last summer, then-Governor Gray Davis’s proposal to create an Office of Economic Development at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fell by the wayside after legislative leaders balked at providing the CPUC with authority to reassign CPUC staffers to the new office.

A newly introduced bill by Assemblyman Jerome Horton (D-Los Angeles) picks up where Davis left off and creates the office by statute. AB 2803 establishes the Office of Economic Development as a division within the CPUC to “review and assess the beneficial and adverse economic impacts,” intended and unintended, of CPUC decisions and orders, and to assist the CPUC in “making decisions that will promote economic development and to avoid making decisions that will suppress economic development.”

"Adverse economic impacts" are defined in the bill as “increasing costs, raising prices, loss of jobs or employment opportunities, reducing technological innovation or investment in technological innovation, reducing investment in infrastructure to serve consumers, and reducing consumer choices and options.”

CMTA supports AB 2803 and any efforts to provide closer scrutiny of the impact of CPUC actions on manufacturing and the economy as a whole.

The establishment of the new CPUC office would come not a minute too soon. The general weakness in the manufacturing sector in California has been exacerbated by the burden of skyrocketing energy costs, and the cost to California’s economy in jobs and lost opportunities. According to the latest labor statistics, California has lost over 350,000 manufacturing jobs since December, 2000, or 18 percent of the industrial workforce.
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