PA legislature renews talk of green jobs

    The economy has dwarfed every other issue at the state Capitol this year. Yesterday, House Democrats heard testimony from policy experts on ways Pennsylvania government can grow jobs.

    The economy has dwarfed every other issue at the state Capitol this year. Yesterday, House Democrats heard testimony from policy experts on ways Pennsylvania government can grow jobs.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090415jobs.mp3]

    While the federal government has the power to drive up deficits and pour billions of dollars into the American economy, Pennsylvania lawmakers are required to balance the state budget.

    That means any state spending aimed at stimulating growth needs to be much more targeted.

    Stephen Herzenberg, the Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center, told lawmakers the General Assembly should focus support on companies developing renewable energy and energy efficiency technology.

    Herzenberg: These are new industries. These are industries where there’s a lot of innovation. These are industries where you don’t yet have, in many cases, economies of scale. So by using regulation and government purchasing to grow the market, you can fuel that innovation, you can increase economies of scale. You can drive down costs.

    Herzenberg says lawmakers should view support for the alternative energy industry as an investment, saying the United States needs to position itself so that it’s selling, and not importing, solar power, wind power and other renewable energy products in the coming decades.

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