Jobs & Economy
My number one priority in Congress is creating jobs and growing our economy.
Investing in Infrastructure
One of the best ways to create jobs is to put people to work fixing our roads, bridges, overpasses and waterways. That is why last Congress I co-authored an infrastructure jobs bill in the House that was fully paid for and would have funded transportation and infrastructure projects for two years. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that the legislation would have created 177,500 jobs in California alone.
I also co-authored a bipartisan port improvement bill that has gained 187 co-sponsors. This legislation would fund dredging projects, creating jobs for the people who do the dredging and helping our local economy by making our marinas, ports and harbors more accessible for business.
Not only do smart investments in infrastructure and port improvements create jobs, but they also reduce hidden taxes on businesses and communities. A March 2013 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) found that the poor condition of California's roads costs drivers nearly $14 billion a year in repairs and operating costs.
We have to build an economy that can compete long-term. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure our district continues to grow as a national leader in the development and manufacturing of clean energy technology.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program
I am working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle on a program called the Property-Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE, that’s seen tremendous success in parts of our district.
In 2009, I worked to get PACE language into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This language allows property owners to finance the purchase and installation of energy retrofits to their homes and businesses.
This program provides homeowners and businesses with a way to pay for retrofits to make buildings more energy efficient. And it doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Since Sonoma County has started its PACE program, more than 2,000 commercial, residential, energy efficiency and water conservation projects have been undertaken. The county estimates the retrofits have pumped more than $58 million back into the local economy and have supported more than 700 jobs.
Today, I am working to pass additional legislation that will make sure every county has an opportunity to start a successful PACE program.
Protecting Geothermal Royalties
We have to protect geothermal energy and the money it bring into our communities. When geothermal revenue sharing was suspended in 2010, I authored and passed legislation that restored the payments to counties.
I am continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect geothermal revenues from future budget cuts.
Geothermal energy is good for our environment, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and helps our economy by spurring green job creation.
In 2011, our district received nearly $2 million in geothermal royalties. That money is used to pay for governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, related to the geothermal field.
Repealing geothermal royalty payments is a short sighted plan that will do nothing to reduce our deficit. And it is not fiscally responsible. It would kill jobs, cripple future green job growth, and slow our economic recovery – all of which will only make our deficit larger. I will continue to fight against these cuts, because if a community invests in developing geothermal energy, they deserve to get their fair share in returns.
Supporting Small Businesses
I am working to support our district’s small businesses. Last Congress I introduced bipartisan legislation to simplify the tax code for small businesses. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, we should all be able to agree that simplifying taxes for small businesses is good policy. This bill will save small businesses time, paperwork and headaches during tax season by expanding cash accounting, allowing them to focus their efforts on what they do best – growing their businesses – not on complicated accounting practices.
Investing in Education
Finally, for our long-term economic growth, we must invest in education and worker retraining so that our nation continues to have the world’s best entrepreneurs and innovators to compete in a global economy. That is why I have consistently supported funding need-based grants at their highest level so students can afford college. And it is why I co-authored legislation that would freeze some student loan interest rates and prevent them from doubling. This will save an average middle-class family about $1,000 a year.
Infrastructure, investments in new economic engines like energy, support for small businesses, and education – these are the keys to creating jobs and building a strong American economy for years to come.
More on Jobs & Economy
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $1 million Department of Transportation (DOT) grant for Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The funds will be used for environmental mitigations required to complete the airport’s runway realignment and extension project. Once completed, this runway project will help the airport accommodate regional jets flying longer distances to and from an increased number of air travel destinations.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $222,179 Small Business Innovation Research grant for Riptide Bioscience, INC. Riptide Bioscience, INC. is based in Vallejo on Mare Island. The grant, from the National Eye Institute (NEI), will go towards a research project titled the Designed Host Defense Peptides for the Treatment of Bacterial Keratitis.
By Tony Burchins
On a visit to the humongous Mare Island factory that helped rebuild the Pacific Fleet after Pearl Harbor, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson on Thursday was honored for his work to help Vallejo's former military base.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Jared Huffman (CA-2) today announced a $2.5 million Department of Transportation Grant for Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train. The funds will be used for the engineering design in preparation for construction of the Larkspur Extension, which will connect the SMART rail system to the Larkspur Ferry in Marin County.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $1,009,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) business loan for VJB Vineyard & Cellars. The SBA loan was used as part of the project financing of the VJB Vineyard & Cellars’ facilities, including final improvements that were completed in time for the summer tourist season.
Washington, DC—U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and James Lankford (R-Ok) led a group of 111 bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives in sending House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) a letter asking the Chairman to reconsider proposed changes to the “last in, first out,” (LIFO) business accounting measures in the House’s final proposal to overhaul our nation’s federal tax code.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif. (5th CD), issued the following news release: U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and James Lankford (R-Ok) led a group of 111 bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives in sending House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) a letter asking the Chairman to reconsider proposed changes to the "last in, first out," (LIFO) business accounting measures in the House's final proposal to overhaul our nation's federal tax code.
Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $1.9 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contract for Mare Island Dry Docks, LLC. The contract is for the dry docking and ship repairs of the RONALD H. BROWN research vessel and will create 45 to 50 jobs on the island.
An ice breaker ship called the Polar Star is coming to Mare Island for repairs-- and with it, dozens of jobs -- thanks to a $5.1 million U.S. Coast Guard contract awarded to Mare Island Dry Docks, LLC, Rep. Mike Thompson's office announced Tuesday.
An ice breaker is used to clear pathways for supply vessels and support research missions, a spokesman said.
Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced a $5.1 million U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) contract for Mare Island Dry Docks, LLC. The contract is for the dry docking and ship repairs of the POLAR STAR ice breaker. The POLAR STAR is used to clear pathways for supply vessels and support research missions.