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Make $3 create $10 worth of Clean Energy Jobs

December 7th, 2009 · No Comments

This guest post comes from the very thoughtful Alan Drake, who has done some of the best work related to the value of electrifying the national rail system.

This fits with the clean energy jobs series.

The 30% Energy Tax Credit has been quite useful in creating installation jobs for construction workers and for domestic suppliers of insulation, windows, doors, HVAC and solar.

But it misses most of the potential market.

  • Nothing for renters or their landlords.
    Nothing for small businesses.
    Nothing for non-profits.
    Nothing for second homes.
    Nothing for low income elderly homeowners.

Only primary residences are covered. And only for those that pay income taxes.

Expanding the tax credit (or check from the Treasury for those that do not pay income taxes) will save energy and create jobs quite cost effectively.

Rental property investments will occur because long time renters may want to improve their lease (New York City would be a exceptional case), or landlords may want to improve the energy efficiency of their property. Landlords are more likely to hire someone to do the work than are homeowners, this increasing local employment.

Non-profits want to reduce their energy bills too, and we all benefit when they do since they will have more money for their primary mission. A 30% rebate check can substitute for a tax rebate for them.

Small businesses can be motivated to take advantage of that sale on insulation, or pick the higher efficiency replacement air conditioner, if they can get a 30% tax credit. And they too are more likely to hire someone to install insulation than to Do-It-Yourself.

And many wealthier Americans have a second home that uses energy too. A second home that may become the next owner’s primary residence. Expanding the tax credit to second homes will both save energy and create employment. And second home owners are also more likely to hire someone than to DIY.

And everyone can sympathize with an elderly couple that would like another layer of insulation in the attic or new windows, but they no longer earn enough to pay income taxes. Issuing a rebate check to them could make the difference between cutting their utility bills or not.

Take a good program and make it better !

Clean Energy Jobs series posts:

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Tags: clean energy jobs · Energy · energy efficiency