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PACE Campaign Daily – 7/29/10

7/29/10

The webinar was a success.  Recap can be found here:

Full webinar recording: http://votesolar.org/PACEwebinar_july29.wmv

technical note:
For PCs: the recording includes audio and PPT slides
For Macs: the recording only includes audio. You can follow along by downloading the presentation slides here (PDF).

Campaign Update: Time is running short on summer, and even shorter before the August congressional recess.  We still need to be aggressive in our support of PACE at the National level.  The focus turns to the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee. But all members of Congress need to hear from us.

Here is your quick daily digest of news and updates from the national campaign to protect PACE from the actions of the FHFA. If you are new to the issue, here are some resources for you.

7/28/10

We will host an interactive webinar on Thursday, July 29th at 1pm ET/ 10am PT to get into the details of the federal PACE campaign. Join us to help work on how to best address issues raised by the Senate Banking Committee, hear about the current status of PACE Commercial programs, and to hear from Sonoma County on how they kept their program going.

1.  Update on Recent Events
The last two weeks have seen a flurry of action across the nation in support of PACE. Here are some of the recent highlights:

  • The “PACE Assessment Protection Act” was introduced in both the House and Senate.  HR 5766 (Thompson) has attracted over 40 co-sponsors.
  • PACE stakeholders have met with dozens of Senators and Representatives from across the country
  • The National Association of County Officers issued a resolution supporting PACE and demanding action be taken to safeguard PACE programs.
  • Dozens of communities from Florida to New York to California have introduced city council resolutions demanding immediate action be taken to safeguard PACE. For example, Miami Dade County Florida passed their resolution on July 20.
  • Thousands of petitions and letters have been sent to Congress in support of PACE.  For example, over two thousand Floridians sent letters to their Senator, George LeMieux, asking that he support PACE legislation.

2.  Action Request
As we enter the final weeks before Congress adjourns, it is more important than ever to keep up the pressure.  Time is short, but we have a real chance to move legislation through Congress if we keep working.

  • EVERYONE: KEEP THE PRESSURE ON CONGRESS.  Call your Representative and Senator and ask them to support the PACE Assessment Protection Act.  Don’t have much time?  Sign the petition through Vote Solar.
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:  Pass a resolution supporting PACE and asking Congress to take action (visit PACENow.org for a sample resolution).
  • COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS:  Send a letter on your letterhead to your Senators and Members of Congress urging immediate legislation to save PACE.

7/23/10

We have a Senate Bill. Yesterday, the Senate introduced legislation requiring lenders to adopt sound underwriting standards that support PACE financing programs. It is the companion legislation to the House Bill (pdf) introduced last week.

We still have a tough road ahead in Congress. Yesterday’s Senate decision to nix major climate and renewable energy legislation after 18 months of debate serves as a timely reminder of just how hard it can be for strong policy to successfully navigate Congressional waters. And with just a few weeks left before the summer recess, it’s a race against time to send PACE legislation across the finish line. The good news is that PACE is a bi-partisan issue – we have a real opportunity ahead of us to see support from both sides of the aisle move PACE legislation forward.

We need your voice more than ever. Here are two ways you can help . . .

Take Action

  1. Contact your representatives in Congress to urge them to pass PACE-protecting legislation. We’ve made it easy here. Have you already taken action? Consider encouraging your friends, family and colleagues across the country to do the same.
  2. Spread the word via your local newspaper. It’s as easy as writing a letter to the editor. We’ve draft a sample letter below that you can customize and use to send a public message that you care about the issue.

As always please check out: http://pacenow.org/ for support materials and additional information.

***

Dear Editor:

Our community and others across the country have a promising new tool for  unlocking investment in our local clean energy economy. Called Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE, this innovative municipal finance program allows property owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and to pay for the cost over time through their property taxes. It’s an entirely voluntary program that creates green jobs right here and reduces energy bills for our homes and businesses.

But these promising local programs are under attack from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their regulators at the FHFA. The lending giants, which own the vast majority of American mortgages, recently declared that PACE violates the terms of their mortgages. These actions have shut down PACE programs here and nationwide, throwing a massive wrench in American economic recovery and violating the century-old right of local governments to assess local property taxes for a public purpose.

There are 37,000 similar special assessment districts that are used to finance everything from sewers to sidewalks, yet federal regulators have singled these clean energy assessment districts for their attacks. The regulators and its lenders at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no right to trample on one hundred years of legal precedent for this type of local government finance. In addition to violating state’s rights, their action impedes one of our nation’s most promising efforts to move toward fossil fuel independence.

As our voices in Congress, Rep. ______ and Senator ______ should stand up for PACE and resolve this dispute with Fannie and Freddie once and for all.

Sincerely,

To the Editor:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is an innovative program that holds tremendous opportunity for our community. PACE allows property owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and to pay for the cost over time through their property taxes. It’s a voluntary program that creates local green jobs and reduces energy use.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently declared that such programs violate the terms of the mortgages owned by these companies, which are by far the vast majority of American mortgages. Their actions have shut down PACE here and throughout the country. Assessing local property taxes is the province of local government. The Federal government – and its mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – shouldn’t trample on the rights of local government by stopping PACE. There are 37,000 special assessment districts that have been used to finance sewers, sidewalks, business improvement districts, yet federal regulators have singled out PACE and announced that clean energy assessment districts should not be permitted. In addition, to violating state’s rights, this action impedes our nation’s efforts toward fossil fuel independence.
As our voice in Congress, Rep. ______ [or Senator ______] should stand up for PACE and resolve this dispute with Fannie and Freddie once and for all. Between our weak economy and the oil spill in the Gulf, now is not the time to turn our backs on this promising program.
Sincerely,