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

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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On January 8, 2007, John Garamendi became the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California. He brings to the office 32 years of public service and is well positioned to make the office a powerful advocate for families and hard working Californians, and one that tirelessly supports higher education, health care, the environment, and job creation. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi served in the State Assembly from 1974-1976 and in the State Senate from 1976-1990, including a term as Senate Majority Leader. He became California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, serving from 1991-1995, then was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1995-1998. He returned to the California Department of Insurance in 2003, after his reelection as Insurance Commissioner. Garamendi is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was an all-conference and academic All American football player, and a champion wrestler. Prior to receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, he and his wife, Patti, were Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia. They have six children and nine grandchildren. They live near Sacramento and operate a cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Visit his website at:


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