Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger Highlights Plan to Spur Clean Technology Growth in California

SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — California Jobs Initiative to Create, Retain 100,000+ Jobs. After touring Cobalt Biofuels, a Silicon Valley green-tech company, today in Mountain View, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger highlighted his proposal to exempt the purchase of green-tech manufacturing equipment from the sales tax in his California Jobs Initiative, a legislative package that will create or retain at least 100,000 jobs announced in his State of the State address last week. Cobalt Biofuels is on track to build a commercial facility within two years and the sales tax exemption for green manufacturing equipment proposed by the Governor will help accelerate commercialization and make California an attractive place to site their plant which is expected to create 3,000 jobs during construction and 1,300 permanent jobs, according to the company.

“It is great that companies, like Cobalt, will help California meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets under AB 32 and our Low Carbon Fuel Standard,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Cobalt shows us that what is good for the environment can also be good for the economy. In fact, within the next few years, Cobalt has plans to build an even larger plant that will create 1,300 permanent jobs. I want that plant and those jobs right here in California. That’s why, in my State of the State address, I announced a jobs initiative that we estimate could create 100,000 jobs. One piece of this proposal exempts the purchase of green-tech manufacturing equipment from the sales tax. This will help California attract and retain green businesses and create the jobs of the future. I want every CEO, entrepreneur and innovator to know that if you’re investing in a cleaner future, California will invest in you.”

California leads the world in environmental technology as the home to 10,209 clean-tech companies and home base to the innovative minds and year-round sunshine that power the clean technology industry. To maintain this competitive edge, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed to continue a sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment for zero emission vehicles and expand the exemption to advanced transportation, renewable energy and other clean, green technology projects. This targeted sales tax exemption for the purchase of clean-tech manufacturing equipment will not cost the state tax dollars; it will increase revenue by expanding the number of clean technology manufacturing companies with sites in California.

To achieve this proposal, the Governor is co-sponsoring legislation with Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Assembly Bill 1111 by Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), to codify the existing authority of the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority to exempt zero emission vehicle manufacturers from sales tax on the purchase of new manufacturing equipment. The legislation will also extend the exemption to all green technology manufacturing.

“In addition to the environmental benefit, expanding this financial incentive promotes the growth of California’s green-tech sector, solidifies our leadership position in the economy of the future, and creates high-paying jobs for our workers and families,” said State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. “And the program will be designed with oversight and monitoring provisions to ensure the incentives provided businesses produce a net benefit for the state’s budget.”

Emphasizing that this year’s number one priority is creating jobs and returning people to work to get California’s economy back on track, the Governor announced his California Jobs Initiative proposal in his State of the State address last week. The initiative includes a $500 million employer hiring incentive that will keep Californians in jobs and give employers increased flexibility to adapt to the changed economy. Equivalent to the state paying half the payroll tax for each new employee for a year, the initiative will result in up to 100,000 new or retained jobs created and provide training to 140,000 individuals to qualify them for better jobs.

California has shown that leading in policy and enacting clean energy standards translates into clean energy investment and green jobs. According to an economic study by the University of California, Berkeley and Next 10, California’s policies will create as many as 403,000 jobs in the next 12 years and household incomes will increase by $48 billion. In the last three years alone, more than $6 billion in venture capital has been pumped into California’s economy, making the Golden State the national leader in the number of clean businesses. Green jobs have also skyrocketed, growing 10 times faster in California than in other areas. Another recently released Next 10 report shows that green jobs and businesses are growing faster in California than any other state in the nation.

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