Mountain View Voice

News - January 15, 2010

Governor visits local tech firm

Schwarzenegger touts jobs plan during trip to Cobalt Biofuels on Clyde Avenue

by Daniel DeBolt

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Mountain View on Tuesday morning with the idea of promoting his green jobs initiative — and local green-tech company Cobalt Biofuels was deemed the perfect setting for it.

Mayor Ronit Bryant welcomed Schwarzenegger to Cobalt's Clyde Avenue facility, where the governor stated that "in December, when I was asked what my New Year's resolution is, I said, 'Jobs, jobs, jobs.' That's what it's all about. It's just bringing jobs back."

Cobalt, which claims to have produced a revolutionary new biofuel, plans to have a new manufacturing facility built by 2012. The company says its new facility will create 1,300 new jobs.

Schwarzenegger hopes that new policies in his jobs initiative will lead to the creation of 100,000 new jobs statewide and job training for 140,000. Among the initiative's incentives for growing business, it eliminates sales taxes on "green tech manufacturing equipment."

"I want to send a very clear message to all the companies here in California and to the CEOs and to the innovators, the entrepreneurs, that if you invest in a clean future then we, California, will invest in you and in your company," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday.

Schwarzenegger held up Cobalt as an example of the sort of company that can lift California out of the recession while simultaneously helping the state meet emissions reductions goals. Cobalt has developed a "third generation" biofuel called Biobutanol, which the company says is 85 percent cleaner and less expensive than gasoline, less expensive to produce than other biofuels, and leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

CEO Rick Wilson described his company's product as "drop-in compatible for engines and current fuel infrastructure with no vehicle modifications."

Under Schwarzenegger's plan, first unveiled in his State of the State address last week, employers will receive a $3,000 tax credit for hiring previously unemployed workers and a reimbursement for the cost of training them. The governor says the two incentives can save an employer the equivalent of the taxes paid for one employee in a year.

The plan also includes a streamlining of permit processes for new buildings "to get shovels in the ground," an extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, and "tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that hurt businesses and kill jobs," Schwarzenegger said.

"We can't afford to sit back and to wait for the world economy to come back," he said during his press conference at Cobalt. "We can't wait for Washington to come up with a master plan on how to bring jobs back. We have to be responsible for creating jobs."

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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