The Green Stimulus

by William Yeatman on January 27, 2009

Several House committees marked up the Democratic leadership’s $825 billion stimulus package this week.  The number and cost of the so-called green jobs to be created by the bill is a little less mysterious thanks to the good work of my colleagues Iain Murray and Jonathan Tolman.  Iain has listed the line items that could be construed as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  These items total $57 billion, of which new programs totaling $32.3 billion have job numbers attached.  These programs would create 353,000 new green jobs at an average cost of $91,000 per job.  That’s a small start to the Obama campaign’s pledge to create 5 million green jobs at a cost to taxpayers of $15 billion per year for ten years.  After the election, the campaign lowered that pledge to 2.5 million green jobs, but the cost remained the same.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted for $20 billion in tax breaks for wind and solar power and energy-efficiency improvements.  Since loans for new windmills have dried up, the bill tries to spur investment by allowing an immediate 30% investment tax credit in place of the current production tax credit taken over ten years.  According to a Reuters story, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, today unveiled his version of the $275 billion tax cuts that are part of the stimulus package.  It includes “about $30 billion in tax breaks and incentives aimed at creating energy jobs.”  We’ll have to wait to see how many green jobs they claim will be created by the House and Senate tax provisions.

The House has scheduled a floor vote on the whole stimulus package for next Wednesday, 28th January.  The Senate will begin committee mark-ups next week.

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