Tag Archives: green

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

Environmental justice?

Kaye Beach

June 24, 2012

If you read many government policy papers you will invariably encounter any number of catchphrases that you have no earthy idea what they mean.  Case in point, I keep stumbling upon the phrase ‘Environmental Justice.’  It sounds nice but what does it mean?

As explained in the next two articles by  Katherine Timpf,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement” of people, regardless of race, “with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

I know, still about as clear as mud isn’t it?  If you want to know what environmental justice really is, and you do need to know because it is being put into practice right here in Oklahoma, read on. . .

 

Environmental justice: A new movement to restrict your movement

June 15, 2012

Environmental justice: A new movement to restrict your movement

. . .a nearly unknown executive order could have a greater impact on the future of America than all of those things combined, potentially giving the federal government power to control every project in the country.

The obscure memorandum of understanding, based on a long-forgotten executive order signed by President Clinton in 1994, marries the issues of environmentalism and social justice. The federal government can use the laws from one to control the other.

Seventeen federal agencies signed the Aug. 4, 2011, memorandum  — a clear indication of its widespread implications. By signing it, “Each Federal agency agrees to the framework, procedures, and responsibilities” of integrating environmental justice into all of its “programs, policies, and activities.”

This integration was the topic of the State of Environmental Justice in 2012 Conference held April 5 in Crystal City, Va. The low-key conference featured speakers who are key players in the movement, offering a rare glimpse into how the federal government intends to use this new tool as an instrument of power and control over the lives of every American.Environmental justice has already stopped transportation projects in their tracks by using Title VI, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial “discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Mr. Obama explicitly suggests using Title VI to achieve environmental justice in his memorandum.

“This is all about integrating environmental justice into the transportation decision-making process,” said conference speaker Glenn Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice in Transportation Project at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The president had taken steps to integrate environmental justice into transportation even before he wrote the memo. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency joined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation to create the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

This partnership, according to theEnvironmental Justice and Sustainability Reference Deskbook,” “marks a fundamental shift in the way the federal government structures its transportation, housing, and environmental policies, programs and spending” to include environmental justice concerns.

Read more: http://times247.com/pset/27environmental-justice-a-green-machine4/page/1#ixzz1ylDJ8YDP

Part II

Sometimes, environmental justice is neither

Americans hear it every day: The environment is bad, and we need to change it. Life is not fair for minorities, and we need to help them. The Obama administration sees both of these mantras as united under a common cause: environmental justice.

Read more: http://times247.com/articles/66environmental-justice-part-ii-taking-a-second-look-at-green8#ixzz1ylJVbq4m

How much is sustainability worth?

From the Antiplanner;

Where Do We Draw the Line?

“How much is sustainability worth?” asks Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Nigel Jaquiss. “Try $65 million in public money.” That’s how much taxpayers will be spending on a $72 million “green” building in downtown Portland. At $462 a square foot, it will be “perhaps the most expensive office space ever built in Portland.

The director of the Oregon Environmental Council defends the building as something that can “leverage long-term outcomes,” whatever that means. But she would defend it, since the state is promising OEC, 1000 Friends of Oregon, and other left-wing environmental groups office space in the building at low rents that are guaranteed to stay fixed for decades.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who’s Really Getting “Green” in Oklahoma? Local Governments for Sustainability

“Private property and freedom are inseparable.” – George Washington

ICLEI

Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chair of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI),and Clerk of the Circuit and County Court in Miami-Dade County, Florida, has said that

“individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective” in the process of implementing Sustainable Development.”

From “What is Sustainable Development?”

Taxpayer Dollars and Foundation Grants Help a U.N.-Inspired Group
Show U.S. Cities How to Enact Climate Change Policies

“ICLEI- Local
Governments for Sustainability” is a 501(c)
(3) nonprofi t created by a U.N. conference.
Now it’s offering advice to local politicians
and recruiting “strategic partners” to build
pressure for municipal energy regulation” Says The Capitol Research Center.


The City of Edmond is hosting  a Sustainability forum tonight at 6pm.

“Over 1200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations worldwide comprise ICLEI’s growing membership. ICLEI works with these and hundreds of other local governments through international performance-based, results-oriented campaigns and programs”

First of all, what is ICLEI?

It is an United Nations Environmental Program

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

Also Known As:

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

“ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations who have made a commitment to sustainable development.  ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.”

“ICLEI was founded in 1990 as the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives”.  The Council was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at our inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York.

ICLEI Charter 2006
“The Association shall maintain its formal institutional relationships with its founder patrons, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), the latter from 1 January 2004 merged into the newly established World Organisation of United Cities and Local Governments.”
Find out if your city is an ICLEI city-

ICLEI USA Membership List

Residents of cities investing in the ICLEI plan will be relentlessly treated to the upsides of participation, but what are the true implications?

From Freedoms Advocates;

While some of these policies sound good on the surface, they result in consequences such as:

  • High-density housing scams
  • Traffic congestion
  • Open space where access is not allowed
  • Government “partnering” with favored private businesses and non-profit agencies, using your tax money
  • Undermining Constitutional administration of government
  • Managed control over your life
  • Mismanagement of public utilities
  • Prohibitions on natural resource management leading to increased fire hazards, lack of water, and private property restrictions,
  • Increased taxes, fees, regulations and restrictions

Here very good outline of basic steps you can take to find out more about ICLEI and what you can do to oppose ICLEI in your city-

And here is more information on downsides of this plan for “sustainability” collected from various sources;

The American Thinker

UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You

Most Americans are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program known as Agenda 21. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development created Agenda 21 as a sustainability agenda which is arguably an amalgamation of socialism and extreme environmentalism brushed with anti-American, anti-capitalist overtones.

The American Policy Center

In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a “wrenching transformation” must take place to lead America away from the “horrors of the Industrial Revolution.” The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and its’ roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992.

Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy – often referred to as top-down control. Truly, Sustainable Development is designed to change our way of life.

Many are now finding non-elected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations. As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing power and decision-making ability in their own communities. Most decisions are now being made behind the scenes in non-elected “sustainability councils” armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and grant money.

In fact, a recent study reported that elected city councils and commissioners have lost approximately 10% of their legislative power during the past 10 years, while, through the consensus process, the power of private groups called Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has increased by as much as 300%. It is a wrenching transformation, indeed.

Read More

Lots of information and resources here;

Concerned Citizens Against ICLEI

and Here-ICLEI Primer: Your Town and Freedom Threatened /Freedom Advocates

And finally a small collection of documents regarding Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development