Monday, November 10, 2008

Park Rapids Enterprise: Pawlenty promotes green jobs

Don Davis, Capitol Bureau
Published Monday, November 10, 2008

Lower taxes for businesses that add jobs in renewable energy industries is a key part of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2009 economic plan.

As he was beginning a statewide tour announcing his $86 million "Green Jobs Investment Initiative," Pawlenty told reporters in a Capitol news conference Monday that he does not know how many jobs his plan would create. However, he said it would be a significant number and state officials predicted more than 114,000 million Minnesotans will hold such jobs in the next 30 years. About 15,000 Minnesotans work in green jobs today.

Green jobs are those involving the manufacture or other work on renewable energy components ranging from manufacturing wind-powered electric generator parts to making crop-based fuels.

Pawlenty's proposal, which needs legislative approval, would:

-- Create a nearly tax-free environment for businesses that create green jobs patterned after the Job Opportunity Building Zones program for struggling rural areas.

-- Provide a tax breaks to investors willing to spend money on projects creating green jobs.

-- Give companies that produce solar or biomethane gas (such as from landfills and manure) energy credit toward meeting the state's goal of providing 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

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