Climate activists file initiative to create Portland sales tax

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) --- A coalition led by environmental groups filed an initiative petition with the city of Portland on Jan. 18 to enact a sales tax on large retailers to fund projects that will decrease carbon emissions.

They call their measure the Portland Climate Action Community Benefits Initiative 2018 and are shooting for the November city ballot. The chief petitioner is Adriana Voss-Andreae, chairwoman of 350PDX, an affiliate of an international group working to avert dramatic climate change.

The measure aims to enact a new sales tax of 1 percent on retailers with more than $1 billion in gross revenues and more than $500,000 in Portland revenues. Retailers selling basic groceries, medicines and health care services are exempted.

Money collected would be deposited into a Portland Climate Action Community Benefit Fund, which would be disbursed for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, with a particular focus on projects that benefit low-income people and communities of color.

Other beneficiaries of the money would include regenerative agriculture projects that sequester greenhouse gases and support local food production; job training and apprenticeships.

A Portland Climate Action Community Benefit Fund Committee would be created, made up of experts and community members, to make funding recommendations to the City Council.

The city Auditor's Office determined last Thursday that the initiative meets requirements of the Oregon Constitution. The petition was sent to the City Attorney's office, which will create a ballot title.

Then organizers must gather signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Veteran political consultant Paige Richardson is working on the campaign.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media partner. 


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