The following piece is from Virginia Chang Kiraly, President of Republicans for Environmental Protection, a political advocacy group. The piece was not written by California Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, but it generally reflects the candidate’s views, according to officials from Meg Whitman for Governor 2010.
The article does not necessarily reflect the views of Greentech Media and we welcome other parties and organizations to come forth with opinion pieces.
California is at a crossroads. And that’s good news.
Cleantech -- energy efficiency, alternative energy, and environmental technology -- will power California’s economic revival.
But these industries need more than start-up investment. Long-term, they need a dose of climate change -- that is, restoring a favorable business climate to California.
Meg Whitman has put her finger on the right formula for building a stronger economic future and securing a cleaner, healthier environment by creating a business climate where cleantech can thrive.
She understands that it will take a new approach in Sacramento. We must cure Sacramento’s fiscal mess, reduce strangling regulation, face up to California’s growing economic competition, and create the conditions to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship right here.
Correcting the state’s chronic fiscal imbalances must be a top item on the agenda. Structural deficits and mounting debt are unsustainable. The state’s proud reputation for excellence is suffering from self-inflicted wounds.
Fixing the budget mess, however, is only one of a series of problems that must be corrected if California is to regain a favorable business climate.
Another is untangling the regulatory cobweb that imposes hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary costs on businesses large and small.
In some quarters, regulatory streamlining is thought of as a code phrase for sweeping away environmental protections. That’s not what Meg Whitman has in mind.
Instead, she will take a balanced approach and she has a clearly-thought-out road map. Clear away bureaucratic obstacles to business growth that waste time and money. Offer incentives to businesses developing and marketing products that will help Californians use energy more efficiently. And, perhaps most importantly, generate energy cleanly.
Whitman plans to cut the bureaucratic red tape that adds no value, overlapping regulations, duplicative regulatory reviews, and obsolete rules that actually hinder worthwhile projects designed to cut pollution and reduce energy waste.
At the same time, she will boost cleantech investment by increasing the state’s research and development tax credit, ending the tax on startups, and adopting job-creation credits.
Whitman will enforce California’s 33 percent renewable energy standard -- one of the most aggressive in the U.S. -- in order to build a stable and growing market for the products that cleantech businesses make and market.
Whitman opposes Proposition 23, a simplistic measure that would effectively kill the law. As governor, she will develop sensible standards for ensuring that AB 32’s goals are met while adequately addressing the economic costs.
From Boston to Beijing, there are many places outside California that recognize the economic promise of green technology and are hustling to secure its high-paying jobs.
Whitman knows that, while California now receives the lion share of venture capital, there is no room for complacency. Competitors such as Texas and Arizona will poach California’s cleantech businesses if California lets them.
As governor, Whitman won’t let them. She will work aggressively to retain the state’s existing businesses. Her office will assign navigators to help employers work with state agencies, clear away obstacles, and get the permits and support they need to thrive and hire more Californians.
In addition, Whitman will direct a marketing team promoting California as the place to be for businesses that manufacture solar panels, produce advanced batteries, develop smart grid equipment, and market other clean-energy technologies.
Meg Whitman knows that California must move beyond the tiresome, “either-or” arguments that pit the economy against the environment. She knows that if any state can be a model for the rest of the world, it’s California.
From our point of view, Whitman will provide strong leadership that will redeem California’s promise as the best place in the world to live, work, and play while advancing life-changing technologies.