New Haven Register: Chris Murphy plugs green energy, jobs plan in New Haven visitAugust 08 2012
For the original article, please visit the New Haven Register.
Standing between examples of old and new energy production, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Chris Murphy Tuesday touted the pluses of renewables, predicting the U.S. will lose the market to other countries if it doesn’t get more invested.
As part of his jobs tour, Murphy went to Phoenix Press on James Street, which purchased a wind turbine a year ago and has now reduced its energy costs by about $30,000 a year.
The turbine is near one end of Criscuolo Park in the Fair Haven neighborhood. Clearly within view is the shuttered English Station power plant, which ran on coal and then oil before being closed years ago, where it remains in need of a massive cleanup.
“We see the potential for enormous and almost incalculable job growth that comes from an investment in the environment. We are standing at the nexus of Connecticut’s future in clean energy,” Murphy said.
Referring to wind power, he predicted smart national policies could expand 70,000 jobs in the industry to 500,000.
” … there is absolutely no choice to be made between protecting the environment and investing in jobs. In fact the opposite is true. If we grow environmental protections, we grow jobs here in Connecticut,” Murphy said as he received the endorsement of the Sierra Club after he visited Phoenix Press across the street from the park.
He supports a National Renewable Energy Standard that would require 20 percent of energy developed from renewables that he said will grow hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.
“We know now today that we have catchup to do with the rest of the world when it comes to energy policy,” Murphy said.
For Murphy, no campaign stop is complete without a reference to Republican Linda McMahon, whom he assumes will win the GOP primary next week. Murphy is competing with Susan Bysiewicz in the Democratic contest; McMahon’s challenger is Christopher Shays.
Murphy said McMahon’s energy plan seems to begin and end with the XL Keystone Pipeline, which he says poses environmental dangers to sensitive sites in the West and Midwest and doesn’t grow jobs in Connecticut.
“Linda McMahon seems to be interested in the environment when it makes money for her and her family,” Murphy said. “She is a direct investor in the tar sands companies that would benefit from Keystone Pipeline.”
Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for the McMahon campaign, said her “finances are an open book.”
Murtaugh said McMahon supports the Keystone Pipeline because it opens “greater access to energy sources for the U.S. and for the tens of thousands of jobs it will mean across the board.”
The Democratic candidate said McMahon will “reinstitute billions of dollars in tax breaks for the oil industry” while he will “fight for billions of dollars in tax breaks for wind companies and solar companies.” Murtaugh had no comment on that.
Her jobs plan reference to energy also recommends “examining promising renewable energy technologies.” Murphy said the country doesn’t need to examine it. He said they work and save money.
McMahon has been hammering Murphy in ads for saying his jobs plan is a work in progress and given his tenure as a congressman from the 5th District he should have some answers. They criticized the tour as nothing more than photo opportunities with no substance.
These tours have become almost mandatory this year for all politicians out on the stump touting solutions to unemployment and a stalled economy with McMahon conducting one earlier in the year.
”I don’t apologize for listening to employers and employees about what they want from their next senator. My style of representation has been to always keep my mind open to new ideas,” Murphy said.
His plan covers five basic areas with the first referring to simplifying the tax code by getting rid of loopholes and deductions and using the savings to lower the tax rate. He supports an end to the Bush tax cuts, except for families making less than $250,000. McMahon would lower the 25 percent rate to 15 percent and keep the Bush tax cuts, while making the 15 percent rate on capital gains and dividends permanent; she would eliminate all corporate tax credits except for charitable donations.
Multimillionaire McMahon earned some $29 million in dividends in 2010 and by keeping the 15 percent rate, rather than let them revert to 39.6 percent, she saves $7 million in taxes, Murphy said.
Murphy wants to make purchase of new manufacturing equipment tax free and pushes his Buy American plan that would have the government purchase more things built here. McMahon’s campaign pointed out Murphy voted against Buy American twice. Murphy said that was because the defense authorization bills that were part of it left troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan open ended.
Murphy’s plan would invest in transportation infrastructure, make education a priority and get into renewable energy as the next global industry. McMahon’s 15-page plan would cut federal spending by 1 percent, but not defense and she doesn’t address entitlement programs.
McMahon’s campaign won’t release economic models underlying the analysis of her plan that says it will have a $1.7 trillion positive budgetary impact. The Hartford Courant also looked at her $500 monthly tax savings claim for the middle class and found it was “substantially misleading.”
Eight days before the primary, Murtaugh characterized Murphy’s plan as a “big fat nothing burger that in no way resembles a policy … Only a career Washington politician would call this marshmallow of a press release a plan … cotton candy has more substance.”