Thursday, April 14, 2011

Congressional Black Caucus Alternative Budget for FY 2012

From the CBC Executive Summary:
Our nations's communities of color have been hit hardest bythe effects of the recession.  Even as our nation's economy slowly emerges from the recession, these communities experience disproportionately higher rates of unemployment, home foreclosure, educational disadvantages and economic hardship.  As a result, vulnerable communities are increasingly relying on public programs to meet their basic needs.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has a long history of submitting fiscally sound and responsible alternatives to budgets offered by both Republican and Democratic presidents.  The CBC Alternative Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 continues this long tradition, putting forth a plan that reduces the deficit over the next decade, and increases economic opportunities and job creation while ensuring sustained investments in education, job training, transportation and infrastructure, and advanced research and development.
AAEA President Norris McDonald wrote the energy, environment and natural resources sections of the CBC alternative budgets from 1980 - 1985.

Environmental & Energy Sections of the CBC Alternative Budget:

Repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit

Blenders of ethanol and gasoline currently receive a 45 cent per gallon tax credit known as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). The tax credit, cited by the Government Accountability Office as "among the most wasteful programs: in the federal government, costs taxpayers approximately $6 billion each year.  Additionally, the negative impact of the VEETC on the food prices is evident and is a direct result of this government subsidy. Prior to the enactment of the VEETC, the use of corn for ethanol was approximately 15% of the overall market. Today, the use of corn is approximately 39% of the market and will continue to rise.  As a result, corn futures are at their highest since the summer os 2008. These high prices hurt food producers, businesses, and working American families.

The CBC Budget projects that repealing the VEETC would save $60 bilion over the next decade.

Investment in the Green Economy

The growing "Green Economy" presents an opportunity to create large numbers of quality gree-collar jobs for American workers, to grow emerging industries and to improve the health of low-and middle income Americans.  Any public investment in the Green Economy should include serious efforts to train, emply and provide public service opportunities that lead to full-time employment in these industries.  This is a signnificant opportunity to make cost-effective public and private investments to rebuild and retrofit our nation. Through increased spending in Functions 270 (Energy), 300 (Natural Resources) and 500 (Education, Training, Employment and Social Services), the CBC Budget recommends the following:

Develop a career pipeline, particularly in low-and middle income communities, through training, job readiness, and entrepreneurship programs. Help to ensure that people who most need work are prepared for jobs and careers in energy efficiency and energy service industries.  Local Hiring practices will be critical to engage these distressed communities.

Develop Green Energy Centers of Excellence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) to research and develop new green technologies as well as train implementers in the deployment of green innovation.  HBCUs maintain unique relationships with communities of color, and we should implement their ability to educate these communities on opportunities in emerging green economy.

Apply large-scale energy saving measuringto the nation's older buildings, which will create  hundreds of thousands of green-collar jobs while dramatically reducing American's energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Function 270: Energy   + $2,000,000,000

Building on the significant investments made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Research Projects Agency at the Department of Energy; the Weatherization Assistance Program; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs; State and Tribal Assistance Grants; and investments in clean energy technolgoies.

Function 300: Natural Resources and Environment      +1,000,000,000

The CBC Budget invests additional funding for this function to apply towards increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; Chesapeake Bay Restoration; the Environmental Protection Agency; the HBCU Historic Preservation Program; the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom; Army Corps of Engineers; the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration; and Environmental Justice related programs.

Function 350: Agriculture        +500,000,000

The CBC Budget invests additional funding for this function to apply towards the Black/Minority Farmer Initiative, 1890 Land-Grant HBCUs, and other programs that support American's family-owned farms.

CBC Alternative Budget for FY 2012

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