Q: What is the difference between the “Economic Recovery Package”, the “Recovery”, the “Stimulus”, and “ARRA”?
A: They all refer to the same piece of national legislation – the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion bill signed by President Obama on February 17th, 2009.
Q: Where can I learn more about green job opportunities in the Recovery Package?
A1: Read the Bringing Home the Green Recovery User’s Guide for an in-depth look at green opportunities in the Recovery Package.
A2: Sign up for Green Recovery Email Alerts for important news, resources, and opportunities.
A3: Visit the Recovery Resource Center for websites, reports, case studies, and advocacy tools to help you understand and access the Recovery Package.
Q: Why is it important to advocate for a green recovery for all?
A1: There is more federal money available now than there has ever been for green jobs and training. However, if we leave implementation of this bill up to politics and business as usual, we could end up with low-road jobs going to the usual suspects and very few family-supporting jobs and job training for disadvantaged communities. Because Recovery Package implementation is designed to happen quickly, local actors often have a lot of ability to influence the debate.
A2: If you’re ready to take the first step, use this simple LTE tool to submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling for a green recovery for all.
Holding Public Officials Accountable
Q: What should I ask for when I meet with my elected officials?
A1: We are asking our public officials to implement a green recovery for all. That means using Recovery funds to create quality jobs with good benefits, to ensure accountability and transparency in the process, and to create green pathways out of poverty through training, services, and targeted hiring of low-income people, people of color, and women.
A2: If you are looking for more detailed policy recommendations, take a look at these suggestions from the California Green Stimulus Coalition.
Q: What program should I focus on? There are many different green programs receiving stimulus funding.
A1: There are 29 different federal agencies receiving Recovery funds for dozens of programs. Take a look at this complete list of Recovery Programs and their purpose.
A2: Three programs have particularly good potential to create green jobs and training – The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) ($5 billion allocated), the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program ($3.2 billion), and the Green Jobs Training competitive grant program ($500 million).
A3: Resources on the WAP, EECBG, Green Jobs Training grants and a few other programs are in our Recovery Resource Center.
A4: Depending on your interest, you may be interested in other programs such as housing, transportation, or workforce funds. For a comprehensive analysis of green jobs funding in the Recovery, read our Bringing Home the Green Recovery User’s Guide.
Q: What is the timeline for when funds will be made available?
A1: For a list of important deadlines for 28 green-related Recovery programs, see our Timeline for Green ARRA Programs.
A2: The “Important Dates” tab in the center of our Recovery page outlines some key deadlines coming up.
A3: The Recovery Act gives preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously, including a goal of using at least 50 percent of the funds made available by it for activities that can be initiated not later than June 17, 2009.
A4: Some competitive grants, additional program allocations, and other funds will be available for between two and ten years after the Act was passed.
Q: Who is accountable for implementing Recovery Act funds?
A: The answer is different for each program, but Mayors, City Councils, and Governors play an important role. To see a list of who is in charge of Recovery funds for 28 different green-related programs and when applications for funds will be due, see our Timeline for Green ARRA Programs.
Q: How can I get a seat at the table in this process to affect my city’s Recovery plan?
A: Talking to your city councilperson or other local government representative is always a good first step. For tips on meeting with your local officials, read our Recovery Toolkit.
Q: How do I find out how much money my city or town stands to get from the Recovery Act for green jobs?
A1: There are more than $60 billion for green initiatives in the Recovery Act. Every municipality and state is eligible to apply for funds. Some cities have a website where you can track Recovery funds like this Philadelphia Recovery site. The STAR coalition keeps this list of city Recovery websites. They also have this state-by-state overview of accountability efforts.
A2: You can look up how much your city is getting for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding here. For Weatherization Assistance Program funding, find your Community Action Agency and ask them what their allocation was from the state WAP plan due May 12th to DOE. For other Recovery programs, you can try looking up the program’s Recovery website to investigate.
Applying for Recovery Act Funds
Q: I am a green job training provider. How do I apply for Recovery Act funds?
A1: One important funding source for you to consider is the $500 million Green Jobs Training competitive grant program. In June the Department of Labor made Solicitations for Grant Applications available. Competitive grant periods for these programs will close between 8/5/09 and 10/20/09 depending on the program.
A2: Green For All’s Green Pathways out of Poverty Community of Practice is dedicated to helping good training programs access these funds.
A3: Check out our June 4th conference call recording and related resources in order to prepare your organization to apply for these funds.
A4: Join the conversation about green job training on our discussion forum.
Q: I am a business owner or a training provider wanting to do renewable energy, energy efficiency, or other green projects. How do I apply for Recovery Act funds?
A1: Our Bringing Home the Green Recovery User’s Guide includes starting-point information about funding for green jobs worker training in energy efficiency and renewable energy (p. 25), for the Weatherization Assistance Program (p. 28), and for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (p. 29).
A2: For a comprehensive guide for businesses to access stimulus funds, you can buy the “Green Guide to the 2009 Stimulus Package” for around $40.
Business Opportunities in the Recovery Act
Q: What kinds of effects will the ARRA have on small- and medium-sized green businesses?
A: The ARRA will impact these types of businesses in five ways.
1) First and most directly, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been armed with $730 million in new provisions that will help the agency temporarily eliminate some loan fees, stimulate lending, support loan repayment, and provide additional funding for microloans and startups. (Please see this report from the SBA for greater detail on these benefits.)
2) Second, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced an estimated $3 billion for the development of renewable energy projects around the country and made available the guidance businesses will need to submit a successful application. The program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 biomass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.
3) Third, there are a number of tax provisions that are meant to assist all businesses. These include features such as accelerated depreciation for new assets purchased in 2009; an increase in the amount that a small business can write off for capital expenditures; and a net operating loss carryback for small businesses, meant to help them recapture tax dollars.
4) Fourth and perhaps more indirectly, there are numerous tax incentives that promise to spur consumers to invest in the same sort of energy-efficient products and services that generate revenue for small green businesses. (Please see this report from the IRS for the specific tax incentives for individuals.)
5) Fifth and final, these businesses should be excited by the overwhelming increase in government spending on renewable energy, energy efficiency, weatherization, retrofits, and other energy-related infrastructure. Companies of all sizes are invited to participate in this competitive marketplace for green goods and services at the Federal Business Opportunities website, which serves as the single point of entry for all federal government contracting opportunities.
Q: Is there anything being put in place to help medium and small green businesses widen their customer base?
A: While there aren’t any provisions that expressly seek to increase these businesses’ respective customer bases, the ARRA certainly makes every level of government (federal, state, and local) a much bigger, deeper-pocketed customer. Depending on how one chooses to look at the ARRA, over $60 billion will be going toward energy-related expenditures, for everything from an improved national smart grid ($11 billion) to brownfield cleanup ($100 million).
Separately, over $4 billion in residential tax credits is being extended to taxpayers who are looking to retrofit their homes with more energy-efficient windows, doors, furnaces, and air conditioners. Finally, the business community also stands to reap tremendous benefits from the ARRA’s renewable energy bonds, grants, and production and investment tax credits. (Please see thisreport from the IRS for the specific tax incentives for individuals.) By increasing demand from the public sector, and effectively lowering net prices for the private sector, one could make the argument that the ARRA does a great deal to widen the customer base for small green businesses.
Q: Does the ARRA provide ways for small and medium-sized green businesses to save money and earn tax credits for internal energy efficiency programs and projects?
A: Yes, there are numerous tax incentives for businesses, all of which are detailed in this reportfrom the IRS. Of particular importance to small businesses are the extension of the production tax credit, the potential election of the energy investment tax credit, the repeal of limitations on property financed by subsidized energy financing, and the temporary increase in credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property.
Q: How can my business access stimulus dollars and federal government contracting opportunities?
A1: Companies can find detailed information on the wide range of federal government contracting opportunities and programs at the Federal Business Opportunities website, which lists all federal solicitations, contract awards, and subcontracting opportunities.
A2: This site specifically targets Recovery-related solicitations.
A3: Meanwhile, the source to find and apply for federal government grants is Grants.gov, with thissite focusing on grant opportunities related to the ARRA, and containing links to numerous federal agencies that detail their participation.
A4: One final point worth noting is that “ARRA contracting will be done no differently than any other government contracting opportunity,” meaning that some minority-owned businesses may earn special treatment. Those seeking more detailed information are encouraged to see the website of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, which contains helpful information about financing, contracting opportunities, as well as specific instructions at thissite that explain what minority businesses should do to take part in stimulus projects.