Tom Steyer – co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy, co-senior managing member of Farallon Capital Management and chairman and funder of California’s Yes on Proposition 39 campaign – addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention tonight in Charlotte, N.C.
Prop. 39 would require every company to use the so-called “single-sales factor” method to calculate their taxes, based on their sales within California. Companies could no longer choose the “triple factor” method, in which half the tax bill is based on California sales and half on property and employees here, allowing firms headquartered elsewhere to pay less. The loophole currently costs the state about $1 billion per year.
But Steyer, 55, of San Francisco, was in Charlotte to talk about President Obama’s long-term economic and energy plans – and to get in a few digs at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney:
Hello, California. Hello, delegates. Hello, everyone else from America! I’m Tom Steyer. I’m a businessman, a professional investor, and a proud Democrat. I think Mitt Romney and I share the same income bracket— although I guess we’re never going to know. But the reason I’m here tonight is that Mitt Romney and I don’t share the same vision for the future, especially when it comes to energy. You see, this election is a choice—a choice about whether to go backward or forward. And that choice is especially stark when it comes to energy.
Take Mitt Romney’s approach. Governor Romney would do nothing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and much to increase it. He would gut President Obama’s investments in clean energy. He wants to keep giving four billion taxpayer dollars to oil companies every year—the very same oil companies pouring millions into the outside groups backing his campaign.
Or we could follow President Obama’s long-term plan for the future for an economy fueled by a safe, secure, sustainable energy supply. During the last several years, we’ve seen tremendous progress on new technologies that can make us energy independent and create thousands of jobs. This is about investing for the long haul, not for a quick-and-dirty buck. This is about taking control of our destiny by doing what Americans do best: out-innovating, out-thinking, out-hustling our competitors. And President Obama has put us on track to do just that—making investments for the long term.
Read the rest of Steyer’s speech, after the jump…
Last week in Tampa, you didn’t hear any plans that would create jobs now or a long-term plan for energy security. You also didn’t hear very many facts. So here are a few: America’s dependence on foreign oil is the lowest in two decades. Even as we’ve tightened our belts elsewhere, America has made record investments in clean energy technologies from wind to solar to biofuels. We’re modernizing our electrical grid to harness more renewable power sources. We’re doubling fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. And domestic production of natural gas is at an all-time high—natural gas, which, if developed safely and responsibly, could help bridge our energy present to our energy future.
Big things are happening. Thanks to President Obama, America is laying the foundation for the way we power tomorrow. So here’s my question for you: Should we go back to the boom-and-bust, “drill-baby-drill,” polluting energy policies of yesterday, or should we embrace an advanced energy economy that meets opportunity with innovation? Should we settle for an economy built on shifting and uncertain sands, or should we keep building an economy made to last? Governor Romney’s road to the future will lead to dirty air and increasing climate volatility, uncertainty over energy prices, and less security, not more. President Obama’s road to the future will lead us to energy independence, energy security, a safer and cleaner environment, and countless new jobs that can never be outsourced.
Now, I say all this not as the head of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. I say it as the head of an investment firm that has spent the last quarter-century crunching the numbers and making the tough calls. President Obama knows that advanced energy is America’s future. And my bet, as a business man, is that he’s exactly right.
You know, last week, we heard a lot about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s philosophy, their idea that if government was dismantled into tax breaks and vouchers, if government just got out of their way, then all of our problems would be solved. Here’s what we believe: We do better together than on our own. Our country succeeds when everyone does their fair share and gets a fair shot. President Obama knows that only by coming together, only by embracing our shared responsibilities, can we meet the tough challenges ahead—challenges like mobilizing an advanced energy revolution and creating jobs, like making sure America is an energy leader. So let’s embrace a vision of a clean, healthy planet—the one God gave us—and not a scorched earth that can’t sustain future generations.
All day long, I make decisions about smart investments and risky gambles. That’s the job of our president, too. President Obama is making the smart investments we need, and my vote for him is an investment in jobs today, energy security tomorrow, and a stronger country for my kids.