Boulder is considering repurposing its climate and utility occupation taxes into a new climate tax that, if approved by voters, would bring in $5 million annually for climate initiatives in the city.

As currently proposed, the new tax would be ongoing through 2040 and would be a tax on combined electricity and gas bills.

The city hopes the tax would help its effort to achieve the more aggressive climate targets adopted in 2021. Boulder is striving for an energy system that delivers 100% renewable energy by 2030. It also is aiming for a 70% emissions reduction by 2030, based on 2018 levels. It wants to be net zero carbon by 2035 and carbon positive by 2040.

As they were thinking about the new tax, Boulder climate staffers used their racial equity instrument, a six-step decision-making process that includes identifying desired outcomes, collecting data and determining who stands to benefit and who bears the burden of a particular policy.

Because of this, Boulder intends to adjust the tax structure of its current climate tax, originally adopted in 2006, such that commercial and industrial businesses contribute a more equitable share based on their emissions.

The city would also exempt people who currently receive energy assistance funding from paying the tax and plans to develop a rebate mechanism for qualifying low-income residents and potentially certain businesses that cannot be directly excluded from paying the tax.

In 2020, Boulder emitted 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to information presented in Tuesday’s City Council study session.

By shifting a larger burden to commercial and industrial businesses, which contribute about 75% of the city’s emissions, Boulder residents end up paying less.

“It’s still ultimately a saving for residents, because again we’re equitably distributing the costs to the larger emitters, which are the commercial and industrial,” Sustainability Senior Manager Carolyn Elam said.

Currently, the average household pays about $43 a year when combining the climate and utility taxes. With the newly proposed climate tax, the average household could expect to pay $38 a year.

All members of the City Council expressed support for the tax in Tuesday’s study session, though some argued it doesn’t go far enough.

Councilmember Mark Wallach, usually a tax-increase skeptic, was one of the members advocating for a more aggressive approach.

“It seems that in light of the magnitude of what we’re dealing with and the number of bold initiatives we have to take, this is being fairly conservative and cautious,” he said.

“If there’s anything that this community seems to coalesce around, it is the value of aggressively attacking climate change,” Wallach added.

Boulder intends to conduct a poll on the tax, and Wallach suggested including a higher amount along with the current proposal just to see how people feel.

Interim Director of Climate Initiatives Jonathan Koehn acknowledged Wallach’s point and said city staff gave the idea a lot of thought before deciding the $5 million target made the most sense.

He said the department believes it would put the city on a good path to make down payments on new projects and ongoing work, while not placing too much burden on community members coming out of a challenging economic stint because of the pandemic.

Additionally, the department has other ideas for funding and noted the money it needs to accomplish its goals does not necessarily have to be new dollars.

“As we talk about climate resilience, it is so integrated in the work that we do through the (city) organization,” Elam said. “I think it’s going to show up in how we prioritize investments in other areas.”

Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Friend agreed and said she worried that it might be short-sighted to increase the climate tax when there also is likely to be a library district tax on the ballot in November.

“As we are responding to the climate crisis, there is a huge value in social infrastructure,” she said. “Your survival can depend on some social infrastructure.”

Moving forward, the City Council is scheduled to next discuss the ballot item in a May study session with plans for it to be finalized in August or September. It would then have to be approved by voters in the November municipal election.

Boulder has developed a process for community engagement, which includes three phases: outreach to specific customer classes, voter information on climate work and the benefits of the tax, and general community consultation on some of the city’s “big move” plans to combat climate change.

Source by [author_name]

Boulder is considering repurposing its climate and utility occupation taxes into a new climate tax that, if approved by voters, would bring in $5 million annually for climate initiatives in the city.

As currently proposed, the new tax would be ongoing through 2040 and would be a tax on combined electricity and gas bills.

The city hopes the tax would help its effort to achieve the more aggressive climate targets adopted in 2021. Boulder is striving for an energy system that delivers 100% renewable energy by 2030. It also is aiming for a 70% emissions reduction by 2030, based on 2018 levels. It wants to be net zero carbon by 2035 and carbon positive by 2040.

As they were thinking about the new tax, Boulder climate staffers used their racial equity instrument, a six-step decision-making process that includes identifying desired outcomes, collecting data and determining who stands to benefit and who bears the burden of a particular policy.

Because of this, Boulder intends to adjust the tax structure of its current climate tax, originally adopted in 2006, such that commercial and industrial businesses contribute a more equitable share based on their emissions.

The city would also exempt people who currently receive energy assistance funding from paying the tax and plans to develop a rebate mechanism for qualifying low-income residents and potentially certain businesses that cannot be directly excluded from paying the tax.

In 2020, Boulder emitted 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to information presented in Tuesday’s City Council study session.

By shifting a larger burden to commercial and industrial businesses, which contribute about 75% of the city’s emissions, Boulder residents end up paying less.

“It’s still ultimately a saving for residents, because again we’re equitably distributing the costs to the larger emitters, which are the commercial and industrial,” Sustainability Senior Manager Carolyn Elam said.

Currently, the average household pays about $43 a year when combining the climate and utility taxes. With the newly proposed climate tax, the average household could expect to pay $38 a year.

All members of the City Council expressed support for the tax in Tuesday’s study session, though some argued it doesn’t go far enough.

Councilmember Mark Wallach, usually a tax-increase skeptic, was one of the members advocating for a more aggressive approach.

“It seems that in light of the magnitude of what we’re dealing with and the number of bold initiatives we have to take, this is being fairly conservative and cautious,” he said.

“If there’s anything that this community seems to coalesce around, it is the value of aggressively attacking climate change,” Wallach added.

Boulder intends to conduct a poll on the tax, and Wallach suggested including a higher amount along with the current proposal just to see how people feel.

Interim Director of Climate Initiatives Jonathan Koehn acknowledged Wallach’s point and said city staff gave the idea a lot of thought before deciding the $5 million target made the most sense.

He said the department believes it would put the city on a good path to make down payments on new projects and ongoing work, while not placing too much burden on community members coming out of a challenging economic stint because of the pandemic.

Additionally, the department has other ideas for funding and noted the money it needs to accomplish its goals does not necessarily have to be new dollars.

“As we talk about climate resilience, it is so integrated in the work that we do through the (city) organization,” Elam said. “I think it’s going to show up in how we prioritize investments in other areas.”

Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Friend agreed and said she worried that it might be short-sighted to increase the climate tax when there also is likely to be a library district tax on the ballot in November.

“As we are responding to the climate crisis, there is a huge value in social infrastructure,” she said. “Your survival can depend on some social infrastructure.”

Moving forward, the City Council is scheduled to next discuss the ballot item in a May study session with plans for it to be finalized in August or September. It would then have to be approved by voters in the November municipal election.

Boulder has developed a process for community engagement, which includes three phases: outreach to specific customer classes, voter information on climate work and the benefits of the tax, and general community consultation on some of the city’s “big move” plans to combat climate change.

, Boulder eyeing new tax to replace current climate and utility occupa… , Deborah Swearingen , 2022-02-27 19:00:19 , Boulder Daily Camera , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/DCC-L-solarrez3.jpg?w=1400px&strip=all , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/DCC-L-solarrez3.jpg?w=1024&h=643 , [rule_{ruleNumber}] , [rule_{ruleNumber}_plain] , , , https://www.dailycamera.com/2022/02/27/boulder-eyeing-new-tax-to-replace-current-climate-and-utility-occupation-taxes/ , https://www.dailycamera.com/2022/02/27/boulder-eyeing-new-tax-to-replace-current-climate-and-utility-occupation-taxes/ , www.dailycamera.com , https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailycamera.com%2F2022%2F02%2F27%2Fboulder-eyeing-new-tax-to-replace-current-climate-and-utility-occupation-taxes%2F , Colorado News,Latest Headlines,Local News,News,Climate Change, #Boulder #eyeing #tax #replace #current #climate #utility #occupa