Jerry Brown Goes Green on His Not-So-New Job Creation Plan

Several media outlets published articles August 8 about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown “unveiling” a new job creation proposal.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the “10-page plan was released with no fanfare on the candidate’s website.”

The Sacramento Bee’s take:

“Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown released a beefed-up jobs plan Sunday (August 8), expanding on an existing clean-energy jobs plan that was widely panned for its lack of detail.”

A cursory search of Brown’s campaign website reveals that four-and-one-half pages of the “new” jobs plan focusing on encouraging more clean energy jobs is six weeks old.

“Calling it the ‘key to our economic future,’ California Attorney General Jerry Brown today proposed an eight-point action plan (As opposed to an “inaction plan?”) for investment in renewable energy technology and the creation of more than half a million green jobs,” reads the first paragraph of a June 15 press release announcing Brown’s proposal.

While not a “re-retread,” the “new” jobs plan uses some of the same language as the June 15 clean-energy proposal.

“California has the ability to produce at least 1.3 million megawatts of renewable energy – roughly 22 times our current electricity capacity,” the June 15 release says.

“California has the ability to produce at least 1.3 million MW of renewable energy — concentrating solar, wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), small hydro, geothermal, and biomass — roughly twenty-two times our current electricity capacity,” reads the jobs plan.

By building 12,000 megawatts of “localized electricity generation,” building another 8,000 megawatts of “large scale renewables and necessary transmission lines,” reducing peak energy demand, storing more energy, improving building and appliance efficiency and developing more “combined heat and power” projects, 500,000 ”new jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation and maintenance” will be created over the next 10 years,” the jobs plan and the June 15 press release promise.

If that is true – and the rate of growth in green jobs suggests it’s s fairly conservative figure — that would nearly double the number of “green jobs” in the Golden State.

Currently, “green jobs” represent 3.8 percent of California’s 13.8 million-person workforce, according to preliminary results of a recent state survey conducted by the Employment Development Department.

That’s roughly 532,000 jobs – up nearly four-fold from the 160,000 green jobs found in a study released December 2009 conducted by Next 10, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit, using 2008 employment statistics.

Given that growth rate, it seems likely another 500,000 “green jobs” will be added over the next decade, whether or not Brown’s proposal is implemented.

As to the Bee’s claim the current Attorney General’s June 15 proposal was “widely panned,” that might be true but, as far as campaign literature goes, Brown’s proposal is excruciatingly detailed.

Brown’s plan not only mentions the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, megawatts and photovoltaic by name but by acronym: CEC, CPUC, MW and PV.

He explains complex phrases like “carefully calibrated renewable power payments.” Known as “feed-in tariffs,” he says in parentheses.

“Smart Grid technology” is mentioned as is “property-assessed clean energy financing” and “peaker natural gas plants.”

He even makes routine use of semi-colons.

Compare that to the normal level of political debate, which features phrases like “car tax.”

Those are the words commonly used by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other Republicans to describe what are actually federally tax deductible vehicle license fees, an in lieu property tax on cars and trucks.

What Brown’s rival, GOP candidate Meg Whitman, calls the “factory tax” is actually the state’s expired manufacturers investment credit, which allowed businesses to avoid sales tax on manufacturing equipment.

Brown says in his jobs plan he will “carefully review a range of incentives to encourage manufacturing jobs; examples include accelerated depreciation and sales tax reduction/elimination for manufacturing equipment.”

In a nice tip-of-the-hat to persons whose prime earning years spanned the 1920s through the 1950s, a Whitman campaign spokeswoman describes Brown’s proposal as “half-baked.”


Filed under: Politics

1 Comment »

  1. that’s very good!

    Comment by gamaladen — 12.05.2010 @ 7:35 pm

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