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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor, Business, Environmental Leaders Speak Out to Support Job-Creating Prop 39

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

With California’s unemployment rate still over 10%, we should be using all available resources to strengthen our economy and create jobs. That’s why it’s so frustrating to see a wasteful corporate tax loophole draining resources that ought to be putting people back to work. But Prop 39 aims to change that, and anyone who truly cares about creating jobs in California should sprint to the polls on Nov. 6 to pass this commonsense measure.

Yesterday in San Francisco leaders from California’s labor, business and environmental communities stood together to close the loophole that’s costing tens of thousands of jobs and slowing our economic recovery.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

For anyone who cares about sparking our economy and creating good jobs in California, supporting Proposition 39 is a no-brainer. Proposition 39 invests in good-paying jobs. It invests in jobs that will put folks to work right away. It invests in jobs that will improve the lives of families across California. It invests in jobs that we need to jumpstart our economic recovery.

A little history here: At the end of the 2009 budget negotiations in Sacramento, in a middle-of-the-night-deal, politicians created a tax loophole that allows out-of-state corporations to pay less state income tax than the California companies that create more jobs in-state.

Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Prop. 39 aims to close this tax loophole, generating more than $1 billion annually in additional revenue. And that revenue doesn’t disappear into a dark hole. It will help create jobs and rebuild our economy.

For the first five years, Prop. 39 will dedicate half of the revenues from closing the loophole to job-creating energy efficiency and clean energy programs. These programs will include projects at schools and government buildings such as installing solar panels, upgrading old heating and cooling systems, swapping out old windows and installing other energy-saving technologies.

Prop. 39 will also provide financing options to the public and private sectors for clean energy innovations, and will save taxpayers and employers money by reducing public energy costs for years to come. The other half of the revenues for the first five years will go to our state’s General Fund – helping to balance the budget and injecting hundreds of millions of dollars to our thread-bare public school system.

Prop 39 Chairman Tom Steyer:

Proposition 39 is direct Democracy as it should be. It will restore fairness in our tax system and provide a true reform to balance our budget and dedicate resources to a California that is worthy of our children’s futures.

The measure enjoys broad-based support, including support from the business community.

Jim Lazarus, Senior Vice President, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said California companies “deserve to be on equal footing with their out of state competitors.”

Our chamber represents more than 1,500 member businesses, both large and small, and we believe that Prop. 39 just makes sense. The loophole that exists today is bad tax policy and its time we change that.

And in line with a long-standing tradition of Californians protecting our environment, the measure ensures California continues on a path that leads to a thriving clean energy economy.

Annie Notthoff, Director, California Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council:

Prop. 39 will boost California’s clean energy economy and help in our efforts to reduce energy consumption, while also attacking our state budget woes and jobs crisis.

Lisa Hoyos, California Director of the Blue-Green Alliance:

Proposition 39 gives Californians a golden opportunity to grow clean energy jobs and to replenish our cash-strapped general support to support our schools and health care system, and we're working hard until election day to ensure it passes.

Most major states, including Texas, New York and New Jersey, have closed similar tax loopholes. It’s past time that California did the same.  That’s why the California Labor Federation strongly supports passing Prop 39.

Posted on 10/26/2012Permalink

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