- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 13, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) | Gov. Tim Kaine on Monday proposed a package of tax credits and incentives for businesses to offer energy efficient goods and services, saying the measures would bring green jobs to Virginia during tough economic times and help the environment.

“With this package of bills, not only will we be able to create jobs for hardworking Virginians, but we will be taking proactive steps to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and improve our environment,” said Mr. Kaine, a Democrat.

The governor announced his support along with other officials at the Virginia Beach headquarters of Solar Services Inc., which installs solar panels.

Mr. Kaine put $2 million in his budget to expand an incentive program for businesses that make low- and no-carbon energy sources. The performance-based grants will be available to new and existing businesses that produce solar, biomass, wind, nuclear and other clean-energy sources.

Another bill would modify an incentive program for biofuel makers to provide more money to those who tap sources not being used for food.

Those who produce biofuels from those sources would get a 10-cent incentive per gallon produced. Those who produce biofuels from food crops would receive only 7.5 cents a gallon.

The bill also would reduce the production threshold required to be eligible for the grant program from 2 million gallons a year to 1 million gallons to encourage more farmers to participate.

Mr. Kaine also supported legislation to give income tax credits of up to $8,000 for individuals and $20,000 for corporations that install solar and wind-energy systems.

The tax credits would be capped at $1 million a year.

Another bill would exempt solar and wind systems from sales tax, which Mr. Kaine said also would reduce the cost to consumers.

Skip Stiles, executive director of Wetlands Watch and a member of the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change, said the bills would move Virginia “toward the energy generation technologies of the next century,” as well as bringing new, green jobs to the state.

“They hit the trifecta of energy, environmental, and economic needs we face in Virginia,” he said.

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