In just over a year, we have attracted 18 domestic and international companies, which are projected to create 63,000 private-sector jobs in Michigan. With breathtaking speed, we built an entire advanced-battery “ecosystem” for the purpose of electrifying the automobile.
If the states are the laboratories of democracy, Washington can take a lesson from what is happening in Michigan.
That’s Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm in a Politico op-ed. Here’s more:
As last week’s jobs numbers reminded us, emerging from the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression isn’t going to be easy. We need to be creative and daring. We need … a Jobs Race to the Top. The goal: Create 3 million jobs in three years.
It’s doable with an aggressive strategy. In Michigan, we are trying our own version of this race “” focused on the lithium-ion advanced battery for electric cars, a high-tech product previously manufactured almost exclusively in Asia.
We offered irresistible state tax incentives for manufacturers of “advanced energy storage.” We pancaked our state incentives on top of the competitive federal Department of Energy grants to advanced-battery companies and suppliers. We also created robust public-private partnerships.
In just over a year, we have attracted 18 domestic and international companies….
Here’s how the jobs program could work:
“¢ Take funds now spent on redundant or outdated programs and redirect them to a Jobs Race to the Top competition among the country’s regions, states and communities. For it to have a positive effect, it needs to have the size and scope of the Race to the Top in education.
“¢ Focus the competition on job creation in clean energy. There is a critical national need for clean energy, and a competition could create all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people in all kinds of regions across the country.
“¢ Devote the competition to rewarding the most effective public-private partnerships. These must be developed at the local level. Define “effective” in terms of the numbers of lasting jobs created quickly.
“¢ Reward regions that build on their strengths, partner with the private sector and change public policy to drive jobs results. Take the Sunbelt states, for example. In exchange for federal dollars to offset a company’s upfront capital costs or new technology installation, these states might create a dramatically streamlined permitting process for solar farms. Or they could offer a partnership with specific private-sector solar energy producers to build out the energy generation “” and ensure strong demand for renewable energy in the region through a robust renewable energy standard.
The regional governments might lease land tracts at low rates or even offer them for free. State governments might give incentives for solar energy production. Public utility commissions might offer ways to partner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to streamline electric grid siting. Allow regions to partner to make their best competitive case; develop the most creative, dynamic and effective public policy; and use the federal dollars to drive technological advances and investment that might otherwise head to another country.
“¢ The same analysis could be done for other regions “” including the nation’s high-wind areas, the best places to manufacture clean energy or energy-efficiency products and regions with the potential to develop biofuel, nuclear, hydroenergy or waste-to-energy technologies. Every region has something to offer our clean energy future, and every region could be creating all kinds of jobs for its citizens right now “” if incentives were right….
Comprehensive clean energy projects require extensive local collaboration and private-sector involvement. Without a financial carrot, the difficult regulatory changes at the local level would take years, if not decades. As we saw with the Race to the Top, a financial incentive in these fiscally tight times caused states to dramatically change public policy to achieve the critical federal goal of increasing educational achievement in America.
A Jobs Race to the Top in energy would help ensure that Americans are actually at the table to feast on this explosively growing jobs sector, instead of watching our global economic competitors eat our lunch.
The New Deal was about employment by the federal government. But this new era demands a private-sector-focused, bottom-up approach: jobs created by businesses through local public-private partnerships in an economic sector important to our national strength and with incentives from the federal government….
The situation is urgent out here in the states. Please act, now!– Jennifer Granholm is the Democratic governor of Michigan.