The wealthiest state in the U.S. is having trouble collecting enough money to pay its bills, and the Democratic governor doesn’t think taxing the rich is the answer anymore.
California will contribute about $1.3 billion to its Medi-Cal expansion this year, a new expenditure that will further strain an already burdened health care budget.
This year marks the first time states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will have to pitch in to help fund their expansion of the program. Their share of the overall price tag compared with federal contributions is small – 5 percent of the cost to cover newly eligible enrollees – but that still equates to real money in the Golden State.
That’s because the expansion of Medi-Cal, California’s version of the federal Medicaid program for low-income residents, has added nearly 4 million additional enrollees, according to the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Most other states don’t have that many enrollees in their entire Medicaid programs.
How much does it really cost Californians to use renewable energy, and who’s going to pay for it? That’s the question raised by Southern California Edison’s proposed rate hike of nearly 13 percent.
The list of people who are upset about the increase includes the members of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 12. “SCE’s habit of raising rates on its ratepayers indiscriminately has to stop,” wrote union official Ronald J. Sikorski in a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission. “Working families can’t afford it and neither can seniors on fixed incomes.”
But Edison says the money is needed to upgrade its infrastructure to handle the many demands of California policies, like mandates for 50 percent renewable power by 2030, and a goal of 1.5 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2025 (up from about 285,000 now).
But that was then and this is now, and with the last year several companies have left the solar industry, reduced their workforce, or gone bankrupt. SolarCity has been absorbed by another of Elon Musk’s ventures Tesla. Now the company has lowered it’s expectations for growth and has refocused its attention toward providing premium service offering infinity warranties on their products.. . Last year according to their 10k filings, the three largest solar companies in the United States combined lost over $1 billion. The largest company, SolarCity, had revenues of $730 million but lost $820 million. In second, Sunrun with revenues of $454 million still lost $303 million, Finally Vivint Solar earned $135 million but still hemorrhaged $242 million, proportionally the largest losses of any of the three. What is worse, Sunrun is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding “whether the company adequately disclosed how many customers had canceled contracts.” The SEC is also looking at SolarCity.
A good example of renewable energy jobs deception is presented by Allan Hoffman, a former bureaucrat in the U.S. Department of Energy, in an article titled, “Jobs? Investing in renewables beats fossil fuels.” . . . Hoffman summarizes his article by writing, “If a primary national goal is to create jobs in the energy sector, investing in renewable energy is considerably more effective than investing in fossil fuels.” Supporting his argument, Hoffman writes, “Solar Foundation data indicated that in 2016 the U.S. solar industry (8,600 companies) employed 260,000 workers.”
. . .For solar jobs, Hoffman references data reported by the solar power industry. I looked up and found the Solar Foundation paper Hoffman references. What Hoffman defines as “workers” who are “employed” by the U.S. solar industry are actually defined by the Solar Foundation as jobs which the solar industry “supports.” The Solar Foundation liberally defines jobs “supported” by the solar power industry as to include every component on the solar industry chain, plus additional jobs like lawyers, lobbyists, public relations professionals, government employees overseeing the solar power industry, permitting officers, plumbers, electricians, salesmen, land acquisition specialists, and financiers.
For natural gas jobs, by comparison, Hoffman limits his definition to “workers employed directly in oil and natural gas extraction.” Hoffman does not include lawyers, lobbyists, public relations professionals, government oversight employees, permitting officers, plumbers, electricians, salesmen, land acquisition specialists, and financiers, as he does for the solar power industry. Even more importantly, he does not include construction workers who build natural gas power plants, workers who operate natural gas power plants, workers who survey and find natural gas deposits, workers who build equipment for natural gas power plants, etc.
With questions mounting about the legal justification for omitting some $22 billion in expenses from California's long-standing spending cap, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration dropped the plan Thursday while promising to work on the issue again later this year.