How do you expect the federal fiscal stimulus package to affect your operations and/or your industry?
Published March 1, 2009 | March 2009 issue
I’m sure it will. … But the stimulus package scares me. And it scares me because I think it’s lots of dollars going to be chasing anything they can find. And I think it takes away risk from individuals and investors. And so I think bad decisions are going to get rewarded and good decisions are going to …be marginalized because of what’s been going on. And I think we’re going to pay a big price for it later on.
Konrad Olson, Owner
Konrad Olson Commercial Real Estate—Fargo, N.D.
There’s a lot of incentives now for renewable energy power systems, but I don’t know if it makes a difference if nobody’s got any money. … [T]here’s like a 30 percent tax credit for all solar power systems now, which is going to be in place to 2016, and for wind a 30 percent tax credit up to $4,000. … [But laid-off] people aren’t looking to buy anything like that. So I cannot say. I’m holding my breath and hoping that things get better.
Chris Daum, Owner
Oasis Montana Inc. [solar power systems]—Stevensville, Mont.
I guess, basically, my overall statement would be, “I hope.” … Eau Claire [school district] has been identified as receiving $1,764,400, and [we] don’t need to build in Eau Claire.… We’ve got a couple buildings where they’re packed in pretty good, but it wouldn’t warrant building a whole new building. So until some of those categories are defined, we’re going to remain fearfully optimistic. … Of course, it’s going to depend on how that money is allocated. It has specific categories, and will those categories lighten up our regular budget? Because right now we’re looking at five-and-a-half million dollars in cuts for our next budget. … [But] if it passes, I [think] it would take a little bit of the burden off our budget so that we can put that money into staff salary and get our buying power back up in this community.
Ron Martin, President Eau Claire Association of Educators—Eau Claire, Wis.
We’re seeing that there’s quite a bit in there for infrastructure. Wind energy needs infrastructure, since there currently isn’t [good] storage capacity to store large amounts of electricity. … Many points of interconnection for these wind projects need either upgrade or new pieces of transmission built. … So we’re seeing that, yes, the stimulus package would have a fair amount of resources devoted to not only the large backbone transmission lines but also the distribution and infrastructure upgrades that are needed.
Lisa Daniels, Founder and Executive Director Windustry—Minneapolis, Minn.
We think it … may be an opportunity for us to restore some of the potential cuts or fund some of those cuts that we had originally identified as reductions to help balance our budget for the current and next fiscal years. But I think the devil is in the details in terms of what amounts of the allocations must be used to enhance services and which components of the stimulus can be used to cover previous budget gaps that states have. … The final challenge I think that we face as a state is that many of our lawmakers feel that it’s more appropriate to look at Washington as a source to fix a lot of the funding woes that we have in South Dakota. … And so recognizing that the federal money is one-time money I think is paramount for us.
Jason Dilges, Commissioner
South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management—Pierre, S.D.
I don’t see anything specifically that pertains to our industry that would help immediately. The ancillary effects would be if we could get home starts and things like that going, that obviously has an impact to our industry. … [I]f the stimulus package starts to talk more about alternative fuels and energy, then that will play a more significant role for our industry, whether it’s for things like wood pellets [or] more wood energy facilities.
Tom Barnes, Executive Director
Michigan Association of Timbermen—Newberry, Mich.