Olympia Councilmember Lisa Parshley made a referral request to the Finance Committee staff and the legal team to look for viable options in finding a specific revenue stream dedicated to climate work during the September 20 city meeting.
"Currently, there's not enough budgetary capacity to fully fund our declared climate emergency," she said, adding that the general fund and capital budgets have been dedicated to the housing crisis, the reimagination of public safety, and the necessary work on diversity and equity," Parshley said.
But to fulfill the city's climate mitigation goal, Parshley said they must provide a new revenue stream without reducing other programs.
She asked the city and the committee staff to evaluate state law for the possibility of either excise tax, property tax, or sales tax. "If there is no specific Washington State option [regulation], then work to develop and write legislation that would hopefully be sponsored by LD 22 representatives for the 2024 session."
Parshley said her request is for a long-range plan to provide staffing and administration for climate work, monies for pilot studies, grants and incentives, and other work that would benefit the community.
She asked the staff to complete the report by the end of the first quarter [next year]. "The idea would be to have some recommended action by January 2024."
In her conversation with Rep. Jessica Bateman, Parshley was informed that the city may be late to get a specific bill for local funding options for climate change for 2023 because all bills should be submitted by December.
During the presentation at the Finance Committee meeting in August, Olympia Climate Program manager Dr. Pamela Braff told the members that the city needs to invest in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
"Many effects of climate change are here now. They will continue to get worse until levels of C02 emissions in the atmosphere level off, and we are not expecting to see that until 2050," Braff warned.
Braff added there is a mismatch between the amount of work and the funding available to support climate work.
Braff, Boulder and Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bellingham, Washington; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have taken steps to generate revenues through taxes – property, utility, sales - retail, to support their climate programs.
6 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here