Science & Technology
Braley: Wind Energy is Good for Iowa, Critical to America’s Energy Independence PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 13:27

Congressman continues work to extend Wind Production Tax Credit

 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today told key Congressional leaders that renewing the Wind Production Tax Credit—which has created billions of dollars in energy investment in Iowa and created over 6,000 jobs—must be renewed if the United States wants to continue moving toward energy independence.

“Anyone looking across the Iowa landscape knows that wind energy is a big part of our energy future—and that the Wind Production Tax Credit has brought investments and jobs to our state,” Braley said. “The path to American energy independence runs through Iowa and the wind production tax credit is critical if we’re going to continue moving successfully down that path.”

In December, Braley urged House Speaker John Boehner to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit—citing the creation of over 80,000 jobs nationwide attributable to the tax credit. Braley has repeatedly pushed for legislation that would extend the tax credit and provide certainty to investors and businesses in Iowa and throughout the nation.

“The benefits of this industry – local investment, domestic jobs, and energy independence – are exactly what Congress should prioritize,” Braley wrote.

A copy of Braley’s letter is available below and HERE:

April 28, 2014

 

The Honorable Dave Camp                           The Honorable Sander Levin

Chairman, House Committee                      Ranking Member, House

on Ways and Means                          Committee on Ways and Means

1102 Longworth HOB                            1106 Longworth HOB

Washington, D.C. 20515                          Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin:

As you know, last year Members of Congress came together to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act and preserve critical policies that benefit the American taxpayer, support our economy, and create jobs.  Included in this bill was an extension of the tax credit for wind production projects, which in 2012 directly supported 80,700 jobs across our nation and more than 6,000 in my home state of Iowa.  As you work to craft a tax-extension package to address expired provisions, I ask that you support the preservation of the production tax credit for renewable energy, including wind.

Preservation of the production tax credit would allow businesses to make critical investments in our nation’s energy infrastructure. MidAmerican, for instance, is making an investment of $1.9 billion to build a 448-turbine energy project across the state of Iowa – increasing clean energy production and creating jobs.

Unfortunately, investors and manufacturers are once again dealing with the expiration of this credit – a credit that historically drives $15 billion a year on average in private investments into the U.S. economy.  The benefits of this industry – local investment, domestic jobs, and energy independence – are exactly what Congress should prioritize.  As the House continues to address expiring provisions, I urge you to preserve the production tax credit and the promise it holds for our nation’s future.

Sincerely,

Bruce Braley

Member of Congress

 

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IOWA HOUSE DEMOCRATS KILL BROADBAND BILL; PLAY POLITICS WITH IOWANS’ LIVELIHOOD AND JOBS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 28 April 2014 10:36

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today expressed disappointment that Iowa House Democrats decided to play politics with the “Connect Every Iowan Act” jeopardizing Iowans’ livelihood and jobs in underserved areas of the state.

After watching the Iowa House Democrats pull a page out of the Washington, D.C., playbook, Gov. Branstad issued the following statement:

“We know increasing Iowans’ access to broadband technology would allow for rural businesses to connect to the global marketplace. With increased access and adoption, more jobs can be created and family incomes will increase. Rather than coming together to pass common sense legislation to increase broadband access in rural Iowa, Iowa House Democrats have turned their backs on rural Iowans and those who are underserved. Today, the Iowa House Democrats played the worst of political cards; the Washington, D.C., hand of ignoring what is in the best interest of the taxpayers for political purposes.”

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Loebsack continues fight to renew job-creating wind energy credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 04 April 2014 14:01

Two weeks ago, Congressman Loebsack joined with Rep. Steve King to lead 118 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in calling for the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy. Earlier this week, he joined Sens. Grassley and Udall and Rep. King in authoring an op-ed entitled “Don't Pull the Plug: Wind Energy Empowers America” to continue to call attention to the need to extend the PTC, which will provide the needed stability for the wind energy industry.

Loebsack has been a longtime proponent of the wind energy industry, including being named a USA Wind Champion by the American Wind Energy Association for his ongoing support of wind energy in Iowa and his work to extend the PTC. He has visited wind energy plants across Iowa to see firsthand the need for stability that an extension of the PTC would provide and has repeatedly urged the House and Senate leadership to protect these good Iowa jobs. 

A copy of the op-ed follows.

Don't Pull the Plug: Wind Energy Empowers America  

By Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Mark Udall, Rep. Steve King & Rep. Dave Loebsack  

April 1, 2014

Momentum is building to extend expired tax provisions that lapsed Dec. 31. Of the 55 expired tax breaks on the table, wind energy incentives are among those left hanging. The industry faces instability and uncertainty caused by the expiration of the investment and production tax credits.  

We're working to build bipartisan, bicameral and regional alliances to secure a victory for America's 21st century clean energy policy. So far, 144 lawmakers have stood with us and hard-working families in our effort to support onshore and offshore wind energy developments in the tax extenders package.  

Specifically, we are pressing leaders in the House and Senate to prioritize extensions of the job-creating investment and production tax credits for wind energy. This federal tax policy has helped to launch a carbon-free energy source and diversify America's portfolio of homegrown, alternative sources of energy. The tax credits have helped to support 85,000 U.S. jobs; trigger $105 billion in private sector investment; reduce the carbon footprint by displacing carbon-emitting energy with clean generation wind energy (U.S. wind power capacity of more than 60,000 megawatts avoids 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road); and, harness an inexhaustible source of affordable, domestic electricity for consumers. 

   

Opponents of wind energy tax incentives argue the industry doesn't need any government support, yet there are plenty of tax policies for various industries that have been on the books for decades longer than those for wind. If one measure is on the table for potential removal, all of them should be on the table. Everything deserves consideration on its merits, and wind energy stands up to scrutiny.  

   

Technology, tax incentives and private investment work to strengthen the renewable energy sector's position in the free marketplace and power America's carbon-free energy policies forward. Consider that 72 percent of a wind turbine's value today is made in the United States, compared to 25 percent in 2005. Over the past few decades, wind energy in the United States has changed the economic and energy landscape with nearly 900 utility-scale wind projects on the nation's electricity grid and more than 550 wind-related manufacturing facilities.  

 

Wind farms and/or factories have cropped up in all 50 states, putting people to work in good-paying jobs, diversifying farm and ranch income with an organic, drought- and weed-resistant cash crop, revitalizing rural communities and creating pollution-free electricity for millions of homes and businesses across the country.

Under one estimate, if the United States reaches 20 percent of wind-generated electricity, carbon emissions by the electricity sector would fall by up to 25 percent. That's the equivalent of taking 140 million vehicles off the road. In fact, at 27.4 percent, Iowa leads the nation, powering the equivalent of 1.3 million homes - Colorado is not far behind, powering roughly a million homes.

Critics looking for additional proof that wind energy tax incentives make good policy and good politics need to consider that wind energy is good for consumers, constituents and taxpayers. Wind energy projects operate in 70 percent of congressional districts. They require no oil spill liability fund to clean up environmental disasters. The U.S. taxpayer doesn't have to pay for catastrophic insurance as with nuclear power.

But despite its successes in the last two decades, the still-emerging wind industry is working to rebound after setbacks from the uncertainty of expiring tax policy. It suffered 4,500 job losses in 2012 within its manufacturing sector as orders and investment dwindled. Investment dropped from $25 billion to $2 billion.

And this debate is not taking place within a vacuum. A failure to renew wind energy tax credits not only jeopardizes U.S. manufacturing and our pursuit of energy security, but it also threatens U.S. leadership in the global energy race. If Congress pulls the rug out from under wind energy firms, other places like China are more than willing to step into the breach.

The United States can't afford to pull the plug on wind energy tax incentives that foster responsible environmental stewardship, encourage entrepreneurs to innovate clean-energy technologies and investors to finance the job-creating infrastructure that delivers clean electricity to America's homes and businesses.

Grassley is a Republican from Iowa. Udall is a Democrat from Colorado. King is a Republican from Iowa. Loebsack is a Democrat from Iowa.

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Loebsack, King Lead 118 Bipartisan Members in Calling for Extension of Wind Energy Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 24 March 2014 07:26

Production Tax Credit for wind energy expired at the end of 2013

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Steve King (IA-04) today led a bipartisan group of 118 Representatives in calling on the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to bring up legislation to extend the current Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy, as well as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Loebsack and King have both been strong supporters of the wind energy industry and have fought to renew the PTC. Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Mark Udall (CO) led a similar bipartisan letter signed by 26 Senators to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee.

“We are writing on behalf of the 80,000 Americans employed by the U.S. wind industry – representing jobs in all fifty states – to ask that you promptly extend the current law Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC),” the Members wrote. “Like all businesses, the wind industry seeks certainty and predictability so that long term project decisions and investments can be made. Without that stability, we once again risk losing many of the jobs, infrastructure and investment that the wind industry has created.  We urge Congress to pass an extension of the PTC and ITC under current law as soon as possible to avoid further layoffs and divestment.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.

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Cloud Voice Makes Small Companies Look Like Big Business Midland Communications Shares the Power of the Cloud with Customers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Aj Odish   
Friday, 21 March 2014 15:32
DAVENPORT, IA - February 28th, 2014 - Small businesses have been drawn to VoIP technology because of the substantial cost savings they gain when making the switch. However, as VoIP has continued to evolve over the years and moved into the "cloud", small businesses have begun to leverage VoIP in new ways to gain competitive advantages in their respective industries. The growth of virtual companies and remote workforces has brought everyone to the same playing field and customers across every industry are looking to work with credible, prestigious, large companies. Here are some ways in which cloud voice can make your business look bigger than it is today.

Your Office Just Got a Receptionist You Don't Have to Pay For  - Cloud based phone systems today include features that completely eliminate the need for a receptionist. Systems can be configured in order to route calls directly to the intended employee via a unified auto-attendant. Also, if your office doesn't have a receptionist, systems can distribute incoming calls among specific groups. This goes beyond simply sending sales calls to salespeople and admin calls to support employees. For example, you can use Caller ID to send specific accounts directly to the CEO's cell phone. Or if none of the salespeople answer an incoming call, it goes to the Sales Manager's cell phone.

Unlimited Locations, 1 Office Number - With the rampant growth of startups and virtual companies, many businesses need to have a communications system that supports both in-house and remote workers while maintaining a professional image across the board. With cloud voice, calls to the main office can be sent out anywhere simply by asking the customer to dial an extension, just like how large corporations are doing.

Seamless Conference Calls and Lightning-Fast Voicemails - Conference calls or online meetings are often a source of frustration for most companies. This is due largely to the tendency to bolt-on collaboration tools in the hopes that things will work smoothly during the meeting. However, they rarely ever do. Cloud voice solutions enable businesses to host conferences during meetings so you can be "face-to-face" even when you can't be in the same location. Furthermore, all technology is hosted through a single solution so when it's time to host a meeting, businesses can rest assured that the technology will perform as promised. Another way in which cloud voice accelerates collaboration is through its ability to convert voicemails into MP3 files, which can be sent as email attachments. Additionally, voice calls can be converted to text and vice versa for easier retrieval and communication.

Collaborate on the Fly. - Today's employees need to be constantly connected. Collaboration can't always be planned out in advance and when a good idea strikes, everyone needs to be in the loop. Cloud technology has made it easy for employees to see from their desktop what their co-workers are doing and how to best access them (e.g. instant message, voice, or email) so communication can happen immediately.

There are many advantages to moving a company's using cloud voice. For small business, the rewards are plentiful because they can utilize the same technology as large enterprises for a fraction of the cost and make them look just as big.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.

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