SACRAMENTO - The Assembly today passed the Senate version of a bill authored by E3 Co-Chairman ,Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), to make California more competitive in attracting and retaining green tech manufacturing jobs. The bill will help bring manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines and alternative fuel vehicles to California. Governor Schwarzenegger highlighted Blakeslee's legislation in his State of the State, calling it a critical step toward job creation. Today's bill was passed on a bipartisan vote of 72-0.
The bill, SB 71, gives the State Treasurer the authority to provide tax incentives to qualified projects that produce the component parts of renewable energy and alternative transportation products. These tax incentives remove a layer of redundant taxation that makes California less competitive than our neighboring states.
"Layer after layer of bad tax and regulatory policies have made California a job killing machine." said Blakeslee. "The bipartisan support for this bill shows that Republicans and Democrats can find ways to get California working again."
With more than 2.2 million people out of work, California's unemployment rate of 13.2% is almost 50% higher than Texas, another border state with a large diverse population. Making matters worse, businesses and jobs continue to leave for other states.
Leading this mass departure out of state are manufacturing jobs. Over the past decade, the California has lost 600,000 good paying manufacturing jobs. The recently announced closure of the 4,700 employee NUMMI auto manufacturing plant in Fremont is expected to also cost roughly 1,000 jobs amongst area suppliers. The statewide loss of manufacturing jobs represents roughly one-third of our state's industrial economy.
· Wacker Chemie, a solar company, decided to build a factory to manufacture solar panels in Tennessee rather than California.
· Fuel System Solutions relocated its headquarters from Santa Ana to New York.
· MiaSolé, a solar panel manufacturer based in Santa Clara, is poised for expansion. But observers worry that this employer of several hundred workers will instead expand its operation and add over a thousand new jobs in Atlanta.
· Scott Solar closed its Roseville office and relocated these jobs to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
· Helix Wind Inc, manufacturer of small wind turbines, cited a supportive climate for renewable companies as its reason for relocating and expanding its operation to Oregon.
"Common sense improvements on our tax and regulatory policies will make California more competitive," said Blakeslee. "These jobs of the future belong in California."
Blakeslee's proposal and the Senate version are carefully crafted so to not be a corporate giveaway. The legislation establishes stringent criteria that require companies to first demonstrate that their projects will grow the economy and create jobs before they can be eligible for any incentives.
Last year, these same economic incentives successfully lured TESLA Motors away from New Mexico, securing production of their alternative energy cars here in California.