'Green Bonds' House Bill Encourages More Debt

The last thing Michigan lawmakers should do is encourage local government to take on more debt. However, that is precisely what HB 5663, the "local green energy bond act," does. The local green energy bond act would encourage local units of government to create and operate programs that promote green energy use by local homeowners and businesses — funding the new government programs with green bonds. The local government loans could be used for energy-efficiency purposes, including biomass stoves, insulation, solar water heaters and small wind energy systems. Almost all of the energy-efficiency applications have long paybacks, often stretching over a period of years or decades.

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National governments like Greece's are bankrupt requiring a bailout, the U.S. federal debt is not sustainable and the state budget is once again facing a large deficit. It seems remarkable that "progressive" state lawmakers would place their environmental ideology, which requires more government spending, above dealing with fundamental issues like regulatory, labor and tax reform that is sorely needed to help encourage job creation in the state. If HB 5663 is the best lawmakers can do, we would be better off if they stayed home.