California’s Descent Accelerates as Newsom’s New Bill Dings Oil Companies for “Excessive Profits”

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by Leslie Eastman at

A great example of using regulators to create rules that legislators should actually make into law….so voters would know who to blame when unintended consequences arise.

California’s descent into pure socialism appears to be accelerating, as California lawmakers have just approved a measure allowing state regulators to consider punishing oil refiners when those “experts” decide that the firms have made too much money.

The measure passed its final legislative hurdle in the Assembly in a 52-19 vote. Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed the proposal that has been at the center of the Legislature’s special session on gas prices.

Newsom could sign the bill as soon as Tuesday.

…Newsom’s measure creates a new committee within the California Energy Commission that will be empowered to gather private business information and data from refiners to consider whether to set a cap on company profits and a potential penalty when the cap is exceeded. The funds from the penalty would go into a fund, which the Legislature would then determine how to spend. That could include rebates back to taxpayers.

Last fall, Newsom pushed for a windfall tax on oil companies after the average gas price in California hit a record high of $6.29 per gallon. Legislators nixed this plan, fearing it could increase prices before the November election.

Instead, Newsom and lawmakers agreed to let the California Energy Commission decide whether to penalize oil companies for price gouging. But the crux of the bill isn’t a potential penalty — it’s the reams of new information oil companies would be required to disclose to state regulators about their pricing.

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