As we have noted, even more than attacking the rights of Wisconsin workers, Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal threatens the economic security of Wisconsin families. Among the many damaging proposals that Walker is attempting to unilaterally force through in the budget “fix” bill is Provision 16.896, which would allow the sale of the state’s heating, cooling, and power plants to private corporations without the solicitation of bids.
At a time when almost one out of every ten Americans is unemployed, progressives have the opportunity to take the lead on Job Creation policy. This Dispatch will address Job Creation policy options featured in Progressive State Network’s 2011 Blueprint for Economic Security. Now is the time for progressive to contrast the empty rhetoric of the right. After sweeping to power in many states, conservative efforts at job creation are nowhere to be seen, at the same time that they refuse to even consider the critical investments needed to help put Americans back to work and rebuild prosperity in our states.
The US Senate’s failure last year to pass comprehensive clean energy reform means that state legislation is our only chance to create sustainable, green jobs that remain in the United States. For the 2011 legislative session, progressive state legislators can incentivize the demand for clean energy investment and the creation of green jobs through innovative, varied, and comprehensive green energy policies.
Thanks to a bill introduced by State Representative Mike Foley, Ohio will go ahead with a popular program that supports renewable and advanced energy projects. The program, the Advanced Energy Fund, was set to expire by the end of this year but was extended for an additional three years. The Fund uses grants, contracts, loans, linked deposits, and production incentives to encourage and develop a green energy economy.
During a special legislative session, New York state officials again have the opportunity to pioneer an energy efficiency policy that guarantees payment for retrofits for 1 million homes and businesses without touching the state budget. The proposed legislation guarantees the creation and preservation of green jobs in the state while also providing healthier living and working environments for the people of New York.
The fundamental challenge in this recession is that the growth that preceded it was a mirage. Bubble era borrowing created a network of financial jobs, real estate jobs and construction jobs that collapsed with the end of the bubble. Many of those jobs will never return.
An extremely high proportion (75%) of job losses in this recession are permanent rather than temporary. States will need to nurture completely new industry sectors and the infrastructure to support those jobs, while the jobless will need retraining in new skills to participate in those sectors.
Rhode Island’s HB 7407, now Public
Law No. 2010-203, creates the Green Economy Roundtable to advise
and assist the Governor and General Assembly in advancing Rhode Island’s
green energy economy by developing a statewide action plan.