Read the Bills Act Coalition

Saturday, March 28, 2009

McDonnell announces new initiative at kickoff: "GREEN JOBZ"

Posted by MAXIMUS

Interesting news from Bob McDonnell at today's kickoff about energy. First the text of his speech about Virginia's energy needs and potential energy supplies that lay off the continential shelf:

"We have the unprecedented opportunity to be the leading energy producing state on the East Coast and I will spend four years making that happen.

I support drilling for oil and gas 50 miles off our coast. Virginia has the opportunity to become the first state on the eastern seaboard to allow for offshore exploration and drilling. It is environmentally safe and will create thousands of jobs and tens of billions in investment, and hundreds of millions in tax revenues.

Let’s put ideology aside, and be comprehensive when it comes to our energy future - Yes, we must develop new technologies for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewables. But we also need oil and natural gas, and to speed up the approval and permitting process for nuclear and clean-coal plants. I will be a Governor who develops all of Virginia’s energy resources to make life better for all of our citizens.

We will make it easier for entrepreneurs to protect our environment, while creating good jobs. We will establish “Green JOBZ” tax free zones to incentivize renewable energy technologies."

McDonnell's Green JOBZ initiative is modeled after Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's proposal, link here:

What would a Virginia Green JOBZ tax free zone look like? Don't know yet, but let's take a look at what the plan is for Minnesota to see what McDonnell's Green JOBZ program may look like in Virginia:

"Green JOBZ Governor Pawlenty proposes creation of a new "Green JOBZ" program aimed at attracting investments in projects that further the state's renewable energy goals and grow jobs.
Businesses qualifying for Green JOBZ will be those that support Minnesota's 25 x '25 renewable energy standard by improving energy efficiency and conservation, and by reducing emissions, pollution and greenhouse gases. This may include:

Renewable energy creation from a variety of sources
Increased transportation fuel-source alternatives
Production of green building components
Manufacturing of products, services or research that support renewable industries such as wind turbine components, plug-in electric vehicles and the like.

Qualifying projects would receive the same package of tax exemptions available to companies in the state's JOBZ program (exemption from corporate franchise tax; income tax for operators or investors, including capital gains tax; sales tax on goods and services used in the zone if the goods and services were purchased during the duration of the zone; property tax on commercial and industrial improvements but not on land; wind energy production tax, and; employment tax credit for high paying jobs) for 12 years on any agreements executed through 2015.
Projects could be located anywhere in Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Investments would be required to be new to the state, not expansions of existing facilities. The estimated cost of the tax incentives to the general fund would be $3.65 million in Fiscal Years 2010-11 and $6.6 million in Fiscal Years 2012-13."

Sounds reasonable. This Green Jobz proposal Sounds like a solid job creation plan without throwing traditional sources of energy under the bus which means the pricing of our energy will not go through the roof. The technologies do not yet exist, REPEAT, the technologies do not yet exist that would enable our power grid to fully harness solar and other green renewable technologies. All of the experts agree on that.

The question with McDonnell's new Green JOBZ initiative is this: Will this initiative prove to be the sort of business incubator needed to help nurture the growth and advancement of research and development for useable technologies in the renewable energy field? Seems like a responsible start to me.

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