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), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today voted against H.R. 1890, the so-called “fast track” legislation that would allow for Congress to consider future trade deals without the ability to offer amendments. The legislation, considered today by the House Ways and Means Committee, would allow negotiated trade treaties to be submitted to Congress for an up or down vote. Members of Congress would not be able to offer amendments to improve trade deals.
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced that the Napa Chamber of Commerce officially endorsed the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal. Under National Monument designation, the region would be permanently protected. This would ensure continued recreational opportunities and provide the region with an economic boost, while also safeguarding the region's beauty, wildlife, rare plants, and waters – which include important sources of drinking water and irrigation for nearby communities.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted against H.Con.Res. 27, the House Republicans’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget resolution. The budget resolution passed by a vote of 228-199. No Democrats voted for the resolution and 17 Republicans voted against the resolution. The budget, if passed by the Senate would be vetoed by President Obama.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today secured the final $1.8 million needed to complete the Napa Flood Project. The $1.8 million will be used for landscaping, turf reinforcement, irrigation and erosion control.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) today led a bipartisan coalition of legislators in calling on President Obama to protect local clean energy royalties from harmful budget cuts. In a letter to the president, Thompson and the lawmakers expressed their disappointment that geothermal royalty payments to counties were eliminated in the President’s recently released Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget. Because of the high burdens that geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, counties currently share in the revenue of the federal receipts.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today joined United States Trade Ambassador Michael Froman and a bipartisan coalition of House members to announce that the United States has launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to crack down on a questionable Chinese export subsidy program. Specifically, the U.S.
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced legislation in the House (H.R. 761) and Senate (S. 393) to designate the 360,100 acre Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Monument.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) bipartisan Small Business Efficiency Act (H.R. 3581) was signed into law on Friday by President Barack Obama. The legislation helps reduce burdens faced by small businesses and ensures better compliance with complex federal employment tax responsibilities.
Raising the minimum wage, helping the middle class and encouraging more domestic manufacturing jobs were some of the key issues raised by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, during a recent meeting with American Canyon business leaders.
Thompson easily won re-election to the 5th District on Tuesday. Although his victory was never seriously in doubt, he continued to campaign throughout the valley. One of his last stops was with American Canyon’s Chamber of Commerce.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced $135,867 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants for the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County Community Development Commission. The City of Santa Rosa received a $67,433 Family Self-Sufficiency Program grant, and the Sonoma County Community Development Commission received a $68,424 Family Self-Sufficiency Program grant.