A joint effort by the California Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee and an assortment of big-name oil companies like Chevron, Shell, and Exxon Mobil has produced a statewide ballot initiative for this November. If approved, the initiative—which is being pitched as a “Stop Hidden Taxes” bill—would reclassify as taxes the various fees that energy companies currently pay to the state to help fund programs like the Oil Spill Prevention Fund. A virtually identical bill—called the “Polluters Protection Act” by critics—was defeated by voters in 2000.


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