The Billionaires’ Park, Op-Ed by David Callahan – NYTimes.com

Inside Philanthropy’s David Callahan speaking truth to money in The New York Times:

This power shift is part of a larger story about rising inequality and shrinking democracy. One reason the wealthy are flush with cash is that they’ve paid historically low taxes in recent decades, which helps explain why government can’t afford to do big things. A small step toward rebalancing things would be to tax capital gains — the source of much of the wealth of the superrich — at the same rate as regular income, and then dedicate most of that money to rebuilding our eroding infrastructure.

As for ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal access to good public parks, we should require private parks conservancies to chip in to rehabilitate parks in low-income parts of the city, just as developers are expected to help finance affordable housing. If we want even the semblance of equity in civic spaces, new ways must be found to pay for it.

via The Billionaires’ Park – NYTimes.com.

Is U.S. Economic Growth in the Hands of Women? The Kauffman Foundation Thinks So – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

Kauffman, like many foundations of the mid-20th century, was founded by a ROWG (in texting slang, that’s Rich Old White Guy). Ewing Marion Kauffman was a small pharmaceuticals manufacturer who hit the big time. He started developing his Marion Laboratories in his basement, and went on to grow his initial $5,000 investment into a merger with Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals in 1989, with estimated revenues of $930 million.

via Is U.S. Economic Growth in the Hands of Women? The Kauffman Foundation Thinks So – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Meet Yet One More Big Corporation That’s Giving for STEM Education – K-12 Education – Inside Philanthropy

Lockheed Martin is a very big defense contractor with a very small customer base, primarily the U.S. government. The company famously cares about what happens in Washington, D.C., judging by the vast fortune they’ve spent on lobbying in recent decades. 

Meet Yet One More Big Corporation That’s Giving for STEM Education – K-12 Education | Grants | Fundraising – Inside Philanthropy.

RELEASE: Sen. Whitehouse Introduces Legislation to Fight Climate Change and Boost RI Economy

From the Whitehouse press office:

Sen. Whitehouse Introduces Legislation to Fight Climate Change and Boost RI Economy

Carbon Fee Bill Would Return All Revenue to the American People

Washington, DC – With Rhode Island continuing to face the effects of climate change and struggling to rebuild its economy in the wake of the Great Recession, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is fighting back on both fronts.  Whitehouse today introduced the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act, legislation to make polluters pay for the damage caused by carbon pollution and generate as much as $2 trillion over ten years – all of which would be returned to the American people.

 

“For years now, Rhode Island has been on the losing end of the fossil-fuel economy,” said Whitehouse.  “We suffer the effects of climate change caused by carbon pollution – from rising seas that damage property to warming waters that affect our fishing industry.  Meanwhile, the big polluters get to offload the cost of that harm without having to pay a dime.  Today I’m introducing legislation to put the costs of carbon pollution back on the shoulders of the polluters where it belongs, while also creating an even playing field for Rhode Island clean energy businesses to compete and generating much-needed revenue to benefit families in Rhode Island and across the nation.”

 

The American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act would require polluters to pay a fee for every ton of carbon pollution they emit.  The fee would start at $42 per ton in 2015 and increase annually by an inflation-adjusted 2 percent.  The price of the fee follows the Obama Administration’s central estimate of the “social cost of carbon,” the value of the harms caused by carbon pollution including falling agricultural productivity, human health hazards, and property damages from flooding.

 

The fee would be assessed on all coal, oil, and natural gas produced in or imported to the U.S. and cover large emitters of non-carbon greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide from non-fossil-fuel sources.  The U.S. Department of Treasury would assess and collect the fee, working with the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Information Administration to ensure the best research methods and data are used.

 

A study from Resources for the Future, a non-partisan think tank, estimates that a carbon fee tracking the social cost of carbon would reduce carbon pollution by about 50% within a decade from the electricity sector alone compared to business-as-usual. The electricity sector is the largest source of carbon pollution, emitting about 40% of annual emissions.

 

All revenue generated by the carbon pollution fee – which could exceed $2 trillion over ten years – would be credited to an American Opportunity Fund to be returned to the American people.  Possible uses include:

Economic assistance to low-income families and those residing in areas with high energy costs

Tax cuts

Social security benefit increases

Tuition assistance and student debt relief

Infrastructure investments

Dividends to individuals and families

Transition assistance to workers and businesses in energy-intensive and fossil-fuel industries

Climate mitigation or adaptation

Reducing the national debt

 

The Whitehouse bill would raise enough revenue to, for example, cut the federal tax rate on Rhode Island businesses from 35 percent to 30 percent, give every Rhode Island worker an annual $500 payroll tax rebate, and boost the Earned Income Tax Credit by hundreds of dollars a year for 84,000 low-income Rhode Island families.

 

By requiring fossil fuel companies to factor the cost of their pollution into their product, Whitehouse’s legislation would also give clean energy businesses a fair chance to compete in the energy market.  “By making carbon pollution free, we rig the game, giving polluters an unfair advantage over newer and cleaner technologies,” Whitehouse noted.  Rhode Island clean- and renewable-energy businesses today applauded Whitehouse’s legislation:

 

“In order to level the playing field that results from the many subsidies that the fossil fuel industry has in place, the biodiesel industry today is controlled by a number of mandates, regulations and subsidies that are continually changing or are eliminated altogether for periods of time.  This makes investment in biodiesel production and infrastructure very tenuous,” said Bob Morton, managing partner at Newport Biodiesel in Newport, RI.  “Since biodiesel produces up to 86% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum diesel, a carbon fee would make biodiesel a much more cost effective fuel and would insure investors that the industry is here to stay.  We at Newport Biodiesel want to thank Senator Whitehouse for his continued efforts to raise the awareness of climate change impacts and to develop practical solutions that can help to address those issues.  Introduction of this legislation is an important step in bringing climate change to the forefront of the national discussion.”

 

“Bioprocess Algae is one of the pioneers in biofilm-based algae production and we are currently operating one of the longest-standing biological carbon capture and re-use facilities in the country,” said Tim Burns, CEO of BioProcess Algae in Portsmouth, RI.  “Our co-located facility utilizes waste heat and CO2 from a corn-ethanol plant to produce high quality feedstocks for nutritionals, animal feeds, biochemical and fuels.  Senator Whitehouse’s leadership on introducing the carbon fee bill, which creates a platform for carbon utilization, is outstanding and a vision for the future.”

 

 

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Keystone Vote

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Keystone Vote

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the statement below regarding today’s vote in the Senate on legislation to force the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which failed by a vote of 59-41.  60 votes were required.

 

“The Keystone pipeline isn’t any normal pipeline.  It would transport Canadian tar sands oil, which is one of the dirtiest fuels on earth.  It would only create about 35 permanent jobs – all while contributing to the harm carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and oceans – problems we have to live with in Rhode Island.  Furthermore, this bill would set a dangerous precedent by undermining the Administration’s authority to ensure the project is in our national interest.  I’m glad the Senate rejected this bill today, but it’s clear that Senate Republicans will continue to try to force this issue in the new year.  I’ll keep fighting to prevent this bill from passing, and I hope the Obama Administration will ultimately decide to reject the Keystone pipeline, and veto any efforts to steamroll orderly process.”

 

Philanthropy for Veterans Has a Command Post in Washington – Inside Philanthropy

Doing right by America’s veterans is one of philanthropy’s biggest projects right now, and among the most complicated. Under Vikki Spruill, the Council on Foundations has put itself at the center of that action.

Philanthropy for Veterans Has a Command Post in Washington – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds Obama’s Defense of Net Neutrality

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds President’s Defense of Net Neutrality

Providence, RI – Today President Barack Obama released a statement calling on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure a free and open internet by upholding the principles of net neutrality and reclassifying consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act – a step which would enable the FCC to prevent internet service providers from creating “fast lanes” for certain websites.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who joined 11 other Senators on a letter to the FCC supporting Title II reclassification, released the statement below applauding the President’s action:

“A free and open internet that functions equally for all users and developers – from the biggest businesses to the smallest startups – is absolutely essential.  It’s this principle that enabled Google to go from a small operation in a garage to one of the world’s iconic corporations, and that will allow the web to continue to serve as an incubator for innovation for generations to come.  I thank the President for supporting this goal and for his strong advocacy on behalf of net neutrality.”