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Climate Politics Almanac: Results of the Climate Ballot Initiatives
New York's Environmental Bond Act, Boulder's climate tax passes; CA's Prop 30 fails
Last month, we took a look at ballot initiatives involving climate action, from renewable energy to climate taxes to wildfire response. In this post, we quickly review how these initiatives fared.
Georgia’s Amendment 2: Temporary Property Tax Change for Disaster Areas Measure won 92% to 8%.
New York’s Proposal 1, the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act passed 67%-33%. It authorizes $4.2 billion in general obligation bonds for projects dealing with climate change resilience, including wetlands restoration to mitigate sea level rise, heat pumps, electric buses, and other home energy upgrades.
In Boulder, Colorado, all the climate-related initiatives passed. Two-thirds of the city’s voters approved Ballot Issues 2A and 2B, expanding its climate tax on fossil-fuel energy use to $6.5 million from $3.9 million and increasing the share paid by businesses. At the county level, County Issues 1A, 1B, and 1C passed, increasing the local sales tax by 0.3% to raise $33 million for wildfire mitigation, rural fire, mountain rescue, and ambulance services, and rural rapid transit, trails, and bicycle lanes.
In Honolulu, Hawaii, Charter Question 2 was approved, requiring the city’s planning commission to “have at least one member with expertise or experience in (a) Native Hawaiian tradition, native Hawaiian law, and traditional Hawaiian land usage; (b) land use planning, policies, and principles; (c) land development and construction; and (d) climate change and sea level rise causes, effects, and solutions or environmental protection and preservation.” Charter Question 3 was also approved, expanding the use of funds in the city’s Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund to allow expenditures for operation, maintenance, improvement, and management of lands acquired by the Fund.
Wayne County, Michigan, the home county of Detroit, approved 71%-29% a continuation of funding for its public transit system (SMART) through a 0.994 millage.
Carson City, Nevada’s Question 1 passed 61%-39%, continuing the city’s five cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel for road maintenance.
Albuquerque, New Mexico passed a bond measure 73%-27% for $25 million for the flood control system. Last year the region saw deadly flash floods, and this year it whipsawed from extreme drought to heavy rains.
Local residents in Alpine County passed Measure D 314-218 are to prevent the construction of a biomass plant in this sparsely populated county on the Nevada border that is 96% national forest.
Cloverdale, the last jurisdiction in Sonoma County that allowed the sale of fireworks, has passed Measure K 55%-45% to prohibit the practice, as global warming increases wildfire risks.
The city of Watsonville, on Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz County, passed Measure Q 67%-33% to renew its Urban Limit Line, which protects the Pajaro Valley farmland and encourages urban infill. The smart growth rules were established in 2002 and renewed in 2013. The counter measure, Measure S, which would have allowed for more development outside the current limits, received less support.
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California’s Proposition 30: Tax on Income Above $2 Million for Zero-Emissions Vehicles and Wildfire Prevention Initiative, was soundly defeated 41%-59%. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) successfully portrayed this tax on the wealthy to benefit California’s environment as a subsidy for Lyft.
At the local level in California:
Berkeley’s Measure L was a $650 million bond measure that proponents said will help pay for climate projects, but it’s a non-earmarked general funding bond. Need two-thirds to pass, the measure failed to pass, 56%-44%.
Boulder Creek’s Measure T for a $36 per parcel tax to fund parks and recreation includes “alternative green energy to power our public spaces.” Although it received majority support at 55%-45%, it needed two-thirds to pass.
Florida’s Amendment 1, Disregard Flood Resistance Improvements in Property Value Assessments Measure, which would have encouraged flood mitigation investments by Florida homeowners, failed to cross the needed 60% threshold to pass, at 57%-43%.