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California Candidates Champion Clean Energy, Tax Cuts to Grow Jobs

August 20, 2010

California's next governor will inherit a dire budget situation and an unemployment rate that is above the national average. While the two main candidates vying for the job offer different visions for enhancing California's economy, both plans set forth policies and incentives to encourage renewable energy development and deployment and provide resources to support entrepreneurs. Jerry Brown (D) has a clean energy jobs plan that he says will produce half a million jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance over the next decade. His opponent, Meg Whitman (R), would enact tax cuts in targeted areas to support job growth, including increasing the R&D tax credit and eliminating the small business startup tax.

Jerry Brown (D)

To grow and create new jobs in the state, Jerry Brown, who served as California's governor from 1975-1983, would appoint a clean energy jobs czar, responsible for ensuring that all energy jobs goals and deadlines are met and create a strike team to coordinate worker training programs, tax incentives, and other state programs to attract and retain jobs. The team would be responsible for recruiting businesses, creating incentive packages and leveraging private and federal research dollars to target specific opportunities for California businesses and industry.

Brown released a clean energy jobs plan that includes a goal for the state to produce 20,000 new megawatts of renewable electricity by 2020 and accelerate the development of energy storage capacity by 2020. To drive investment in renewable technologies, Brown wants the legislature to codify a requirement that 33 percent of the state's electricity be derived from renewable resources. He also fully supports AB 32, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. His opponent, Meg Whitman, has called for a one-year moratorium on specific regulations of the law to examine costs and benefits. Voters will decide in November on a measure to suspend the Act.

If elected to office, Brown would review a range of incentives to encourage manufacturing jobs, such as accelerated depreciation and sales tax reduction/elimination for manufacturing equipment; review incentives for clean tech manufacturing, including state and local purchasing preferences; and, remove regulatory hurdles for retrofits of existing buildings to increase energy and water efficiency, install cool roofing materials, and improve indoor air quality. View Jerry Brown's jobs plan.

Meg Whitman (R)

Meg Whitman's plan for jump starting the economy centers on enacting targeted tax cuts for small businesses. Proposals include increasing the R&D tax credit from 15 to 20 percent, which conforms to the federal level, eliminating the state tax on capital gains, and eliminating the small business startup tax, which Whitman says penalizes entrepreneurs. Whitman is the former CEO of eBay.

To keep high-paying manufacturing jobs in the state, Whitman would eliminate the factory tax on manufacturing equipment. California is only one of three states that taxes manufacturing equipment without offering a tax credit or exemption, according to Whitman's campaign website. Her plan also refers to accelerating depreciation of new business equipment in order to help manufacturers invest in new equipment and technology to remain competitive.

To help grow the green technology sector, Whitman would create incentives for employers to create green jobs by offsetting part of the cost of hiring new workers through a tax credit. The credits would only apply to permanent jobs directly involved in the development of alternative energy and other environmentally friendly jobs.

Whitman's plan also includes establishing academic enterprise zones. To encourage businesses to locate around and collaborate with universities, tax incentives would be offered for hiring workers, promoting R&D, and increasing access to state funds and loans. Meg Whitman's policy agency is available at: http://www.megwhitman.com/userfiles/pdfs/policy_agenda.pdf