Tim Ehmann, O’Connell Electric of Victor NY testifies on behalf of NECA at the House Small Business Committee hearing on the Economic Stimulus Package.  Ehmann was invited to speak on NECA’s behalf at the committee’s hearing on “The State of the Small Business Economy and Identifying Policies to Promote an Economic Recovery.”  His testimony focused on two elements that NECA and NECA members believe should be included in upcoming economic stimulus legislation: incentives for renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind; and specific incentives that will help provide opportunities for America’s small businesses.

“Much of President elect Obama’s $1 trillion stimulus plan emphasizes significant investment in transportation and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and dams,” said Lake Coulson, NECA’s executive director, government affairs. “While these traditional building projects will help spur economic growth and create jobs, they overlook the need to improve our schools, hospitals, and public facilities by investing in green energy construction.”

NECA adopted an energy independence policy in October 2008 that encourages investment in renewable and alternative energy product, modernizing and securing the national electric grid, and improving the energy efficiency of all buildings.

NECA member Tim Ehmann (2nd from right) participates in witness panel before House Small Business Committee.  At the hearing, Ehmann answered the committee’s questions about the need for investment in energy efficient buildings, including schools and government facilities; renewable energy technologies; and broadband expansion.  He also spoke on the urgent need to repeal the three percent withholding tax in order to get new construction projects moving.

“There’s no denying that much of our national electrical infrastructure needs serious attention, and that it’s work that creates jobs,” Ehmann said.  “With the economic stimulus package, we also have the opportunity to invest in alternative energies and energy-efficient buildings that will help create jobs, conserve fuel, and cut our energy costs.”  Ehmann pointed out to the committee that national investment in green building and energy conservation was necessary to make a real difference in the economy and environment.  He urged the committee to make building construction part of the economic stimulus package and to extend federal incentives for renewable energy sources.

“I have witnessed first-hand the effects of what happens to jobs, to business growth and to the economy when these incentives are suspended or reduced,” Ehmann said in his testimony.  “If the cost of market entry is not addressed and the investments are not made to incentivize the renewable energy markets, I assure you that the electrical contracting industry, as well as numerous other industries, will become stagnant or contract, which means job loss and reduced business revenues.

Ranking Member Graves (R-MO) and Chairwoman Velasquez (D-NY) question NECA’s witness at the HSBC hearing.” It is absolutely critical to fund and expand federal programs for renewable energies market: they are the vehicle to creating economic stimulus and provide our nation with the chance to build a new energy economy,” Ehmann said.  “These extensions would provide the necessary predictability in a marketplace that often suffers from projects delayed or put on hold because of the temporary nature of renewable energy tax incentives,” Ehmann said in his testimony.

In addition to handling traditional electrical construction work as senior project manager for O’Connell Electric Co., Ehmann is a certified installer of photovoltaic panels for Rochester Solar Technologies, the alternative energy division of O’Connell Electric. He currently serves on NECA’s Energy Solutions Task Force.