Olympia councilmember wants revenue source for climate work


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

  • Honestyandrealityguy

    From pending ice age, to global warming - then climate change. Earth's and sun's orbit changing and aging. Solar system changing and moving within our galaxy. Galaxies moving throughout the universe. Universe expanding. Buy an electric car that requires more fuel to build than a gas ca and all will be OK. Or, who is making $$$ off the myth? Skeptical? Cynical?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2022 Report this

  • bobkat

    "....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...." - - - All of these are CURRENTLY funded and allegedly pressing matters which seem to have captured the Council's attention for the present moment. Considering the current overall state of the economy, is this really the right time, and the right conditions in which to levy yet another 'tax' in order to fund another ephemeral "solution" to a "crisis" that many (most?) deem insoluble by mankind?

    Thursday, September 22, 2022 Report this

  • wolfmanner

    Please vote this fool out next election.

    Thursday, September 22, 2022 Report this

  • BradPax

    Our present crisis demands every available dollar go to cleaning up homelessness and the environmental issues it causes. I would include the "environment" of theft in this. Shoplifting, car prowls, property theft, break ins, etc. The "environment" of an unsafe downtown in many peoples minds. We need to offer treatment and if rejected, incarceration for breaking civil laws. Why do too many believe it's "mean spirited" or "cruel" to ask people to clean up their act?

    Friday, September 23, 2022 Report this

  • Tractor1

    When are politicians going to realize that the revenue bucket has a bottom?

    A requirement of elected officials is to develop a realistic budget within reasonable restrictions on available resources. A sure sign of responsible governance is that funding of projects/programs is done within current available revenue projections. It is irresponsible to demand that a revenue source be found to fund a new project/program. It would be far better if the political governing party require that all current projects/programs be analyzed and recommendations be made on reducing or eliminating projects/programs from a nonpartisan perspective. Yea -- when pigs fly!

    Friday, September 23, 2022 Report this

  • SavageNation

    OMG. This is ridiculous. How about focusing on our crime that’s spiraling outta control due to increasing wokeness of our county, cities and state leaders. Yeah, lets tax the people more since they can hardly afford to keep up already with property taxes so we can harness unicorn farts and end fossil fuels forever.

    Gotta get new leadership at all levels or we’re in big big trouble.

    Friday, September 23, 2022 Report this