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Testimony for House Bill 3300House Sustainability and Economic Development Committee

Cascade Commentary

Background

House Bill 3300 instructs the State Workforce Investment Board to develop a plan to promote the growth of green jobs. The bill also requires the Economic and Community Development Department to develop criteria for and make recommendations about promoting green industries, technology, and innovation.

Listen to Todd’s testimony at 1:25:26-1:27:47 on this audio file.

Problems

Section 6 charges the Economic and Community Development Department to:

“…Develop criteria for existing investments and new or expanded financial incentives and comprehensive strategies to recruit, retain, and expand green economy industries and small business.”

“…Make recommendations for new or expanded financial incentives and comprehensive strategies to stimulate research and development of green technology and innovation.”

With the recent downturn of the economy and Oregon March unemployment rates up to 12.1%, it is easy for media and politicians to support a green job agenda. Yet, before charging ahead to “save” the economy, the real impacts of this bill should be discussed. A bill that specifically tries to increase job growth in the highly subsidized renewable industry may do more harm than good.

Luckily, Oregon has a perfect case study to examine. Spain is considered one of the leaders in expanding the renewable industry with government subsidies and is considered the leader in promoting a green job agenda. Last month, an economic study was released that assessed the impact of government spending on job creation[1]. Using two different economic methods, the authors found that for every green job that the government manages to finance, 2.2 jobs will be destroyed.

If the legislature wants to create jobs, focus on creating a market environment that is conducive to job growth by lowering the tax burden on both corporations and individuals, and also focus on job growth in sectors that are not propped up by continuous government subsidies.


[1] Alvarez, G. C. et al. “Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources.” Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. March 2009. Available at <http://www.coalcandothat.com/assets/resources/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable%20(2).pdf >

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