SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson attended a meeting at the White House on Friday with President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, among many other leaders -- and got some positive news for Sacramento.
He called the session "one of the most important meetings in my term as mayor," in his blog.
Mayor Johnson's Blog
Obama has a plan to invest $4 billion in energy upgrades for commercial buildings, through the Better Buildings Initiative.
And the president picked Sacramento as one of five cities in the United States to receive part of this investment into the construction industry.
Johnson took an overnight flight into Washington, D.C. He was one of two mayors who attended the meeting, which also included 60 university presidents, CEOs and elected leaders.
"Thanks to President Obama and our work through Greenwise here in Sacramento, hundreds of workers from the Sacramento region will return to job sites and begin retrofitting commercial buildings, and eventually schools and government offices, making them more energy efficient," Johnson said in the blog.
Initial expenses will be covered by private companies, not taxpayers.
Obama said the program was a cheap way to help create jobs, save money and cut down on pollution.
"It is a trifecta," he said.
White House Blog
The program's appeal is that the cost to renovate government and private sector buildings is paid off over time by the energy savings. What's more, the contractors who perform the work guarantee that lower energy costs will materialize.
"It is the nearest thing we've got to a free lunch in a tough economy," Clinton said.
The announcement is yet another in a string of White House initiatives designed to address the current weak economy without having to seek congressional approval.
But the program itself was overshadowed by the television-ready image of the incumbent president and the last two-term Democrat to serve in the White House appearing together.
Alluding to ads by a Republican-leaning political group that feature Clinton comments about tax increases, Obama said: "I've noticed that some folks on the other side have been quoting President Clinton about it's a bad idea to raise taxes during tough economic times.
"That's precisely why I sought to extend the payroll tax this year and next year. It doesn't mean we lock in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. I don't think President Clinton has been on board for that for perpetuity."
To that, Clinton looked on with nodding delight.
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