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Using Tax Incentives to Drive the Green Job Economy

Testimony Before the House Ways and Means Committee

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SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Action Senior Fellow Joe Romm testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

I am honored to be given the opportunity to share my findings with you about how many existing provisions of the U.S. tax code directly inhibit the cost-effective commercialization and deployment of clean, homegrown energy, what can be done to remedy this, and how these actions will help jumpstart the U.S. economy and restore our leadership in what will certainly be the biggest job-creating sector of the century.

My new book Straight Up delves into the full nature of our current energy crisis problems and its solutions. It explains many of the unintended and uninternalized side effects that our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels has on our economy, our national security, and on our environment. All of  the findings I will discuss with you today are based on research conducted by me for my book and my blog, or are based on research conducted by my colleagues at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

In my testimony today, I would like to stress three main points:

First, strong government action is needed to address our mounting energy challenges. Our overreliance on fossil fuels, which harm human health, our billion-dollars-a-day addiction to imported oil, the economic threat posed by peak oil, our declining international competitiveness in energy technologies we invented, and the threat of human-caused climate change present a grave danger to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and well-being. They are caused in large part by our out-of-date, uncoordinated, and counterproductive energy tax policy framework.

Second, our existing policy framework, including our tax policy, is inadequate to address the challenges we face. To address these problems, our nation needs to replace our existing patchwork of energy tax incentives with a comprehensive energy strategy —something we have not had for decades. We urgently need a shrinking cap and a rising price on carbon, which the House passed last year. We also need to eliminate the perverse subsidies hidden in our tax code that perpetuate our energy problems; increase transparency of government spending on energy tax incentives; and make existing tax incentive programs for clean energy more efficient, stable, and forward looking.

Third, addressing our problems creates a real economic opportunity. Addressing our energy and climate problems will create immediate and sustained economic growth, by fostering markets and demand for new technologies and new jobs in new industries; by freeing market forces and reducing uncertainty of our investors thereby unleashing a flow of private-sector capital to tackle our nation’s energy challenges; and by catalyzing innovation, our nation’s first and greatest competitive advantage.

CAP Action Senior Fellow Joe Romm testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

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