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Fearing new taxes, California Chamber of Commerce appeals cap-and-trade decision

California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg speaking at the Capitol in 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg speaking at the Capitol in 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The California Chamber of Commerce is taking its case against the cap-and-trade program to the state's highest court.

Joining with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, the powerful business organization is appealing a recent state appeals court decision upholding cap and trade.

The chamber had argued that the program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions, functions as an unconstitutional tax because it was not approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, the legal threshold for raising new revenue.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento rejected that argument. The decision has caused new consternation at the chamber, which said in its appeal that the court risks “putting no limits on what money can be exacted and providing a road map for the evasion of Proposition 13’s limits” on increasing taxes.

Denise Davis, a spokeswoman for the chamber, said the organization "remains a strong supporter of a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases," and it is currently pushing lawmakers to extend the program. However, the chamber is concerned that the appeals court decision was too broad and could allow a "major sea change" in state law.

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