Thinking Inside the (Green) Box: Targeted Tax Incentives for Small Green Businesses

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John Garamendi

Editors Note: This is a guest contribution from the Lieutenant Governor of California, John Garamendi.

As a lifelong Central Valley rancher, I know all too well that our food supply and energy demands are interconnected. When California faced record high gas prices last summer, my small ranch felt the impact when we received bills for transportation costs.

Our state’s seemingly yearly succession of droughts, a phenomenon predicted by current understandings of climate change, have forced me to cut back on production, impacting my family, my employees, and the local community.

Those of us who work on the land are often the first to recognize that global economic and ecological shifts have an impact on the local level, and yet, it is often on the local level where we can have the greatest global impact.

The Commission for Economic Development, which I chair, released its annual report this week, offering economic development strategies for California lawmakers as they pursue policies that can best help promote new employment in California. After extensive meetings with commission members and stakeholders, and after a thorough examination of the final report, I am convinced that California should consider the creation of targeted tax incentives for small green businesses that can deliver on the creation of new green collar employment opportunities for Californians.

The need to offer incentives to start-up and small green businesses is clear. President Barack Obama’s stimulus package calls for doubling our nation’s renewable energy capacity in three years.

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