“I’m going to thoroughly enjoy my moment of sunshine — for about twenty minutes.”
That’s how AZ State Senator Barbara Leff (R-11) described her feelings to the Phoenix Sun, moments after her renewable energy bill passed the senate by a vote of 16-12.”We’re only half-way there,” she added, referring to the coming battle in the House. “I’m going to take some deep breaths and then start lobbying House members.”
Leff wants the bill assigned to the House Commerce Committee which is chaired by Michele Reagan (R-10), a supporter of the legislation. That decision will likely be made tomorrow by House Speaker Kirk Adams (R-19) his office tells the Sun.
Leff had previously believed that the larger battle over SB 1403 would come in the Senate, but she emphasizes that she’s not taking any House votes for granted.
“Companies pit one state against another to see who can give them the best incentives,” says Leff, explaining that she understands why some legislators are against the bill. “That often raises the stakes to attract businesses to your state. At what point are the stakes simply too high? I’d rather avoid giving these incentives, too.” In a perfect world, Leff says, it would be easy to hang on to ideological purity. “But this is reality. The stakes are too high for Arizona, and the potential for job growth is too important” to be sacrificed to any ideology.
AZ Department of Commerce: “Solar job growth vitally important” to Arizonans
The Arizona Department of Commerce agrees with Leff on the importance of job growth in the solar sector.
Commerce spokesman David Drennon says that while he can’t comment on SB 1403 in particular (since it’s still pending in the House), “We have to be competitive with other states in bringing these high paying jobs to Arizona. We’ve got to get Arizona back to work and this sector is vitally important.”
Drennon adds that while there have been some recent successes in solar manufacturers moving to the state, “more needs to be done” by the state to ensure that this job sector continues to grow.
The Arizona state Senate voted 16-12 today to approve a landmark solar bill that backers say will attract manufactures of solar PV panels, thermal solar equipment, and other businesses that make renewable energy products.
The bill, AZ 1403, is titled “The Quality Jobs Through Renewable Energy bill.” In speaking for her legislation, Senator Barbara Leff (R), today repeatedly stressed that “this bill is about jobs.”
Opponents voiced fears that taxpayer money would be lost on solar incentives with nothing to show for the expense. One of those voting against SB 1403, Senator Ken Cheuvront (D), said that if the bill does become law he hopes supporters will prove him wrong.
The bill now moves on to the House.