Hales, state in apparent carbon tax race
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' office participated in the drafting of questions designed to ascertain whether there's a local appetite for a carbon tax.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales wants to know whether his constituents want a carbon tax.
Hales' spokesman Dana Haynes said Friday that the office "participated in the drafting of some questions about a carbon tax, which appears in a poll being released this month." Willamette Week first reported on the survey.
The move could provide a new revenue option, as much as $27 million, for the city.
The poll's questions "are designed to assess the feasibility of a carbon tax," Haynes said in an email to reporters.
"While we are a long away from saying 'yes' or 'no' to a carbon tax, it is our responsibility to think broadly and creatively, regarding ways to be good stewards of the public’s money for services we provide," Haynes said.
State leaders are also exploring whether an Oregon carbon tax makes sense.
The survey pits the notion of a carbon tax against general tax and fee increases that would add money to Portland's general fund.
Surveyors are asking residents whether they'd back a "local tax on producers of carbon pollution" as well as whether the city should boost fees by 3 percent on utility revenu and add a four-and-a-half cent per gallon gas tax.
The survey includes a section on what money from a carbon tax might back. One of the options is renewable energy.
It further floats various names of potential funds that might result from carbon taxes. The options include the Clean Air Fund and the Healthy Community Fund.
Finally, the survey asks whether respondents trust certain officials and groups that might take stances a carbon tax. Along with Hales, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, the survey lists 350.org's Bill McKibben and the Portland Business Alliance.
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