Friday, November 12, 2021

Bellingham considering new tax to pay for programs that reduce carbon footprint

Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood asked the City Council to consider asking voters to approve a tax to pay for citywide programs aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint and helping the effort to fight global climate change according to an article in Bellingham Herald.

In my own words.

The idea of a new city tax is being floated. Could help fund converting things to greener technologies; for instance helping homes and businesses convert away from fossil fuel heating.

It's just discussion now, but article says it's likely to be a property tax. I would guess it could be a tax on both homes and businesses. The city doesn't have a lot of taxing tools, in this state without income taxes. Sales taxes are pretty well maxed out.

I think there seems to be a lot of money in real estate. Tied up in real estate at least. Not easy to buy a home, but if mortgage is paid off, a lot of money is tied up at least.

Maybe there would still be breaks for lower income homes and rentals.

Some of the money could go back to the homes for things like heat pumps.

Where the money would be spent is not determined yet.

Besides just the heating, I think the automobile is a big problem. Maybe some of the money can go to electric vehicle charging stations.

In both cases, however, it doesn't do much good if the electricity still has to come from non green energy sources.

Meanwhile, if a tax passes, it can mean that people are willing to step up to the plate.

The Greenway fund, mentioned as an example in article, is kind of like a school levy. It's a property tax that gets renewed by Bellingham's voters periodically when the levy expires. Voters have given it the thumbs up each time.

It pays for our great system of trails and a lot of our park budget.

I tend to think of the greenways as alternative transportation which also relates to climate issues.

The Greenway levies have been on the books since the early 1990s. Before that, just about all of the greenway trails did not exist.

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