The condition of California’s battered middle class is the result of policies paid for by a statewide fraternity of corporations, trade groups, lobbyists and wealthy individuals. Together, they have blocked needed initiatives through a network of Capitol lobbyists, political action committees, think tanks and libertarian advocacy organizations with a national reach.
In Sacramento, the fate of legislation that could most benefit the great majority of Californians is often sealed behind closed doors by corporate and trade lobbying long before a bill can ever see a floor vote. Numbers released this month by California’s Secretary of State showed that, in 2014, top lobbyists representing big oil and gas, the health care industry, utilities, manufacturing and business interests, together outspent organized labor nearly four-to-one ($28.4 million to $7.7 million).
For their $28.4 million, state policy powerbrokers were able, among other things, to block attempts to aid education and improve the quality of life. Their target list is revealing, beginning with a proposed law that would have brought California in line with other petroleum-rich states’ tax policies.
Capital & Main
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