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Stateside Dispatch: Energy Efficiency Created 1.5 Million Jobs in California; Points to National Economic Recovery Program

Energy Efficiency Created 1.5 Million Jobs in California; Points to National Economic Recovery Program

Thursday, October 24, 2008

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Growing-Economy


 

Energy Efficiency Created 1.5 Million Jobs in California; Points to National Economic Recovery Program

Can investments in green jobs and energy efficiency revive our national economy?  A new study, which assesses job creation as a result of energy efficiency policies in California over the last thirty years, argues that it can.

Looking at changes in the California economy since the state adopted key energy efficiency policies in 1978, the study, by UC-Berkeley's Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, found that 1.5 million new jobs were created between 1977 and 2007 due to those policies, while eliminating fewer than 25,000 jobs previously in existence.

By cutting energy use and costs, consumers in the state were able to shift spending and create additional economic growth in a range of other sectors, including the retail, industrial, and service sectors.  Overall, employee compensation increased $44.6 billion due to California's policies tightening efficiency standards.

Green Jobs Nationwide:  This is just the direct job and income gains from energy efficiency policies.  Adding in the jobs that would be created from other green job goals, from building new transit, investing in alternative fuels and expanding green technology spinoffs, and America has a clear pathway to economic revival and renewal. 

The Apollo Alliance estimates that spending $50 billion per year over the next ten years will create 5 million good-paying permanent jobs nationwide.  Learning the lessons from California and other states that have pioneered clean energy policies, “We can launch our nation’s economic recovery, keep jobs here in America and, at the same time, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make our nation more secure,” said Phil Angelides, the Apollo Alliance’s chairman and former California treasurer, who helped prepare the strategy.

A report from earlier this year, Greener Pathways: Jobs and Workforce Development in the Clean Energy Economy, provides guidance to states on the quality of jobs in the clean energy economy and the skills needed to make greater energy efficiency and cleaner energy the centerpiece for revitalizing state economies around the country.

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Rewarding-Work


 

Rising Unemployment Highlights Need for Federal Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Funds

While the financial crisis has received more of the headlines, there has been a growing unemployment crisis over the last year.  With unemployment at a five-year high, nearly 10 million Americans were officially unemployed last month, with nearly 500,000 workers applying for benefits each week.  And the problem doesn't stop there, with long-term joblessness rising:

  • 2 million workers were unemployed for longer than six months as of September.
  • Even with the federal government adding an additional 13 weeks of federally funded jobless benefits on top of the 26 weeks provided by the states, 800,000 workers have exhausted even those additional 13 weeks of benefits.
  • This problem is reaching crisis proportions in a number of states where joblessness is concentrated.

The National Employment Law Project, Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Half in Ten have prepared fact sheets highlighting the particular problems facing states with a surge in unemployment, including:

Alaska | Colorado | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Maine | Mississippi | Missouri | North Carolina | Nevada | Ohio

The House of Representatives has already passed legislation to fund additional benefits for all states, with extra relief for those especially hard-hit.   The Senate should follow suit when Congress reconvenes after the election.

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Some Bad Corporate Tax Ideas in New Jersey Governor's Economic Recovery Proposal

Addressing the recession affecting New Jersey, as well as many other states, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine last week presented a plan for reviving the state economy.  Some of the proposals - such as speeding up work on infrastructure projects and putting $500 million of state pension money in community banks to spur lending to local businesses - are smart and desperately needed. 

But the plan also includes misguided corporate tax giveaways that will do nothing to revive the state economy and will cut state revenue just when it would be better directed to anti-recession spending or tax relief for working families. 

Corporate Tax Giveaways Without Transparency: Mary Forsberg at New Jersey Policy Perspective last week analyzed the problems with a number of the corporate tax cuts proposed by legislators and endorsed by the Governor.  Each individual proposal has problems, but worst of all, as is common in too many states, there is no transparency regarding which businesses receive tax benefits and how much it costs the state.  Forsberg cited a study which found that in 2001, 77 percent of companies paid only $200 in state taxes - the minimum back then - and that included 30 of the largest 50 companies operating in the state. 

Forsberg warns that business lobbyists are already taking advantage of job fears to drive special interest legislation:

This is a dangerous time for New Jersey and the nation -- not only because of what's happening to the economy but because of what's happening in response to the economy. We have to be on guard against proposals that use the economy as an excuse to do things that couldn't -- and shouldn't -- otherwise be done.

Some Specific Corporate Tax Giveaways to Avoid:  The Governor's plan included two particular corporate tax proposals that it and other states should avoid, namely so-called "single sales factor apportionment" of taxes and eliminating "throwback" or "throwout" rules:

  • Single Sales Factor apportionment is the wrong approach:  Currently, in New Jersey as in many other states, the state taxes only a portion of the profits of businesses operating in multiple states.  The formula used to determine the portion taxed takes into consideration the corporation's total property owned, its payroll and sales in all state.  But business lobbyists want to shift the formula to only measuring the proportion of sales in the taxing state. While the argument is that this will encourage companies selling in other states to locate in New Jersey (or any state adopting the single sales factor formula), analysis shows this doesn't work, but it will likely lead to substantial tax losses for the state.  The point of having a multi-factor test for state taxes is to assure that companies gaining the benefits of state action -- whether in helping sales, or developing property or training its workforce -- all pay a fair share of state taxes, which single sales factor apportionment undermines.
  • Eliminating the "throwback" rule is bad policy:  Because companies selling goods or services in a state are required to have a threshhold presence or "nexus" to be subject to state taxes, companies are often able to escape between 50 and 100 percent of taxes on profits by selling to states where they don't have that nexus.  A "throwback" rule means that, instead, their home state collects taxes on the portion of their profits not taxed elsewhere.  Half of states have the throwback rule and if all of them did, companies wouldn't be able to game state tax laws based on where they locate and where they sell their products.  New Jersey abandoning the throwback rule is a step in the wrong direction for state corporate tax policy.

Every state needs good job creation ideas, but after years of disasterous national results in deregulation and corporate tax giveaways, states need to avoid abandoning sound multi-state tax approaches or listening to failed cant from business lobbyists looking out for their interests, not the public's.

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Eye on the Right: Anti-Immigrant Groups and White Supremacists Flounder, Attempt to Rebrand for Wider Appeal

The anti-immigrant "movement" has been flailing recently.  With donor fraud and embezzlement fueling the splintering of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, and dysfunction and check-bouncing at their previous partner organization, the Minutemen Project, anti-immigrant organizations are seeing dissent and confusion rule their ranks. 

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen Project, regrets his involvement in building a group that attracts people with "sinister intentions," saying "I have found, after four years in this movement [that] I very well may have been fighting for people with less character and less integrity than the ”˜open border fanatics' I have been fighting against.  And that is a phenomenal indictment of something I have created." The founder of one of the most anti-immigrant groups admitting the failures in the movement he created, just highlights what Progressive States Network documented in our report The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed.

Right now white supremacist groups seem to be at a crossroads. William White, the self-proclaimed leader of the neo-Nazi group the American National Socialist Workers Party was just recently arrested for posting online the name and home address of a Chicago juror. The juror served in the trial of white supremacist Matthew Hale, who was convicted of soliciting the murder of a federal judge. Meanwhile, hate groups have been mostly quiet around the election and seem bewildered by the possibility of an Obama presidency.

While there have been sporadic reports of Obama signs defaced with swastikas, and reports of racist threats shouted at campaign rallies, what is more insidious are the steps that white supremacist organizations are taking against immigrants, and to put on a friendlier face for a broader audience. "Many white supremacist groups are going more mainstream," says Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist who studies hate crime. "The groups realize if they want to be attractive to middle-class types, they need to look middle-class."  They may be trying to appeal to the middle class  and boost membership, but as Jeff Schoep, the leader of the National Socialist Movement, the nation's largest neo-Nazi group, argued recently, the goal is to use "this immigrant thing"  to recruit new members.

Hate groups have also been reaching out to teens through white power bands which the Center for a New Community has been tracking.

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Research Roundup:
Dealing with the Economic Crisis,
Immigrant voting power and their role in the economy, Youth Voting, Massachusetts Health Plan

Dealing with the Economic Crisis: A few key reports this week on the financial crisis and what government should do in response:

  • The false fiscal dilemma- the Economic Policy Institute argues for another federal stimulus package, explaining why alarmists worried about government debt are ignoring the fact that debt as a percentage of gross domestic product is actually far lower than most historical standards.  An Economic Snapshot emphasizes that tax cuts for the wealthy are far less effective than expanded spending on food stamps unemployment insurance in immediately pumping money back into the economy.
  • In the same vein, in IOUSA Not OK: An Analysis of the Deficit Disaster Story in the Film IOUSA, the Center for Economic and Policy Research debunks claims that the United States is falling off a debt-driven cliff if the government doesn't cut spending.  In fact, it is rising health care costs, not government deficits, that threaten family budgets, while government spending during a recession is the best way to make the economy grow to shoulder future social costs.
  • Take a Walk on the Supply Side: Tax Cuts on Profits, Savings, and the Wealthy Fail to Spur Economic Growth- a report by the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute highlights the failure of tax cuts for the wealthy as an economic prescription and the intellectual collapse of the justification for "supply side" economics.

On immigrant voting power and their role in the economy, a few key reports:

Youth and Voting: A couple of updates on the rising youth vote:

  • The Young and the Faithful- a new survey commissioned by Faith in Public Life finds that young Catholics -- defined as between ages 18 to 25 -- are far more progressive in their voting patterns than older Catholics, while younger Evangelicals have far more progressive views on certain values issues such as same-sex marriage and support for active government compared to older evangelicals.
  • State Voter Registration and Election Day Laws- CIRCLE highlights how different rules, from early voting to election day registration, is effecting youth voting

Massachusetts Health Plan:  Who Gained the Most Under Health Reform in Massachusetts?- this report by the Urban Institute finds that lower-income and younger adults and minority groups had the greatest gains in insurance coverage under the state health insurance reform plan. An accompanying report finds that the quality of coverage for those already with insurance has also improved.


Please email us leads on good research at research@progressivestates.org

Resources

Energy Efficiency Created 1.5 Million Jobs in California; Points to National Economic Recovery Program

Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, Innovation, and Job Creation in California
Apollo Alliance, The New Apollo Program
COWS, Workforce Alliance and Apollo Alliance, Greener Pathways: Jobs and Workforce Development in the Clean Energy Economy

Rising Unemployment Highlights Need for Federal Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Funds

National Employment Law Project, Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Half in Ten -Unemployment Rises in the States - State Fact Sheets
National Employment Law Project - Unemployment Insurance Resources 
Half in Ten - Unemployment Insurance

Some Bad Corporate Tax Ideas in New Jersey Governor's Economic Recovery Proposal

Office of the New Jersey Governor - Governor Corzine's Economic Stimulus Plan
New Jersey Policy Perspectives - Jersey shouldn't rush on business tax breaks
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - The "Single Sales Factor" Formula for Corporate Taxes: Boon to Economic Development or a Costly Giveaway?
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Closing Three Common Corporate Income Tax Loopholes Could Raise Additional Revenue for Many States

Eye on the Right: Anti-Immigrant Groups and White Supremacists Flounder, Attempt to Rebrand for Wider Appeal

National Council or La Raza, We Can Stop the Hate
Southern Poverty Law Center
Anti-Defamation League
Center for a New Community - Turn it Down

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The Stateside Dispatch is written and edited by:

Nathan Newman, Policy Director
Caroline Fan, Immigration and Workers' Rights Policy Specialist
Julie Schwartz, Broadband and Economic Development Policy Specialist
Christian Smith-Socaris, Election Reform Policy Specialist
Kayla Southworth, Privatization and Contractor Accountability Policy Associate
Adam Thompson, Health Care Policy Specialist
Austin Guest, Communications Specialist
Marisol Thomer, Outreach Coordinator

Please shoot us an email at dispatch@progressivestates.org if you have feedback, tips, suggestions, criticisms, or nominations for any of our sidebar features.

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