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Governor Schwarzenegger touts green technology as catalyst for California's battered economy

by Susannah Kopecky, published

On March 2, Governor Schwarzenegger spoke in Palm Springs to highlight his jobs package and encourage taxpayers to support a new measure that would exempt from the yoke of the sales tax, companies which work to produce cleaner technology through such mediums as the windmill and biomass harvesting. The green measure is coupled with a number of loosely related initiatives seeking to increase job numbers and state revenues, including the potential $10,000 homebuyers’ tax credit.

At first glance, one could easily be forgiven for assuming that this new measure is just another symbolic move to appease the governor’s critics; however, if prudently implemented, this move could spur further technological development, while encouraging more business to come back to California. California tends to lose businesses, due to its prohibitively high rates of taxation and high cost of living.

What Schwarzenegger is trying to do, is to catch the newest shooting star and attach California’s wagon to it. “57 percent of all the venture capital in America that's invested in green technology comes here to California,” he boasted, pointing out that it’s a start, but certainly not an ending point.

For a Republican governor, Schwarzenegger has been uneasy about bold cost-cutting and tax-shredding initiatives in his second term in office. Though he has tended toward more popular issues for the left (cutting greenhouses gas emissions and implementing new technologies) in his last term, in this move, Schwarzenegger synthesizes his Republican background (a desire to stimulate business) with a more liberal tone (supporting green technologies). Schwarzenegger chose a spot of symbolic significance to discuss his newest green initiative. The governor is asking that residents support a measure to exempt “the purchase of green tech manufacturing equipment” from the confines of the high state sales tax. The governor’s basic reasoning for the move is to increase the competitive environment for business in California, and to attempt to lure back businesses which once were located in California, but left long ago.

“We are one of three states that are still charging a sales tax on manufacturing equipment,” the governor said, pointing out that none of the other Lower 48 states implement such a tax on said equipment. “We are not competitive and we want to become more competitive. My proposal will help California attract and retain green businesses… And of course it will send a clear message to every CEO and entrepreneur and innovator that if you invest in the green future of California then California also will invest in you.”

The governor has reached back to his roots, and found them to be green.  Let’s hope he can keep appealing to both sides of the political spectrum for the greater good, green measures or not.

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