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Tax Policies to Help Climate Action, Create Jobs

November 11, 2009
by Craig Severance, CPA

The Senate Finance Committee, Chaired by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT),  held a Hearing Tuesday over the "future of jobs" in the context of the proposed energy and climate bill.   The strange list of witnesses -- including polluter industries who hold few prospects for job creation in a new energy economy -- seemed to only distract the Committee from its primary responsibility, which is to use the powers under its jurisdiction to contribute real solutions.  

Will Finance Committee Senators use the power of their Committee over Federal tax policy to actually do something about climate change, and America's 10.2% and climbing jobless rate? 

Or, will the Committee be pushed to give more breaks to the very polluters who are causing the climate catastrophe?

Tax a Powerful Tool.  The ability to tax --  or to give tax breaks -- is one of the most powerful tools of the Federal government.    It is discouraging the tax committees of Congress-- Baucus' Senate Finance Committee and Rep. Charles Rangel's House Ways & Means Committee -- have done little to examine how the Federal Tax Code is actually encouraging energy waste.  While other Committees have led the way on energy and climate legislation, the tax committees have been sitting on the sidelines for most of this year. 

How could tax laws now help create jobs and curb climate catastrophe?  ''

Building Industry in Crisis.  We can start with the industry most seriously affected with job losses right now -- and which is also responsible for almost half of U.S. energy use: the building industry.

Source: Architecture 2030

Idea: Long Term Extension of Homebuyer Tax Credit --  Targeted for Energy Efficient Homes.    The construction industry has led this recession, and is still suffering from over 20% unemployment.  When the Stimulus Bill passed in February, a separate bill for the housing sector was promised -- yet never materialized.  

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