In the Age of Climate Jobs, Here’s What the Cut Inflation Act Means for Illinois Workers

Washington is finally taking the climate crisis seriously.

The $379 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest climate law passed by the United States, will give us a chance to reduce harmful pollution and secure a better future for our people. children and future generations. But this is not just a climate victory. This is a win for climate jobs. That’s what makes it such a big deal for Illinois.

The IRA is poised to unleash a massive wave of clean energy development that will create millions of good union jobs. The aggressive incentives of the IRA are directly linked to labor standards.

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This means that a developer who builds a new large-scale wind or solar farm will receive a 30% tax credit by paying workers the current federal rate for wages and benefits, as well as employing a certain number of apprentices, which will broaden career paths so that people can enter union careers in the clean energy economy.

Developers will also be eligible for additional benefits if they build renewable projects in low-income or fossil fuel-dependent communities, or if they build with materials made in the United States, which will create manufacturing jobs. solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

State and local governments, including school districts, will be eligible to receive these credits directly in cash through the IRA’s “pay direct” option, to improve every public school to be healthier and more climate resistant, with better indoor air quality.

This provision is in addition to Illinois’ own Climate and Fair Jobs Act, which encourages public schools to offset the costs of installing solar power and other energy-efficient upgrades.

The significance of this victory over climate jobs cannot be underestimated. Right now, many workers in the renewable energy economy are working in low-wage jobs without good benefits, pension security, or a collective voice. This new stimulus will tip the scales and help us tackle the climate crisis while beginning to reverse 40 years of stagnant wages and widening racial inequality.

What the IRA and CEJA prove is that we don’t have to choose between creating good jobs and tackling climate change. We can do both.

Pat Devaney, Secretary-Treasurer, Illinois AFL-CIO; Representative, Climate Jobs Illinois

Have Lindsey Graham testify

Senator Lindsey Graham should be required to testify before the Georgia grand jury.

Lawmakers should be protected from arrest to prevent their attendance in Congress and from prosecution for legislative comments, but not for answering questions before a grand jury. The heart of the tenets of our American Revolution is that an average American is equal to any “lord of the manor” in England. We rejected the idea that position, wealth or social class gave people special rights.

In attempting to shield Graham from subpoena, the Court of Appeal in my view extends legislative privilege beyond its meaning and purpose. Graham was acting as an activist, in a personal, not legislative capacity – a possible abuse of his office. He was not part of a legislative study committee on the vote, nor commissioned by the Senate to investigate anything. He should have no privileges beyond that of a citizen, except that he should not be prevented from attending the legislature or performing his duties as a senator.

Bill Donahue, Danville