GWP: Referring to it with happy little buzzwords such as “climate justice,” the city of Portland will soon be implementing the first (and hopefully only) “green new deal” carbon tax in the nation, which city “leaders” estimate will suck $60 million out of the economy. The money will allegedly be going toward “creating” “green energy” jobs. They say the tax will only affect The Evil Corporations™ specifically referring to Walmart.
The “Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative” was passed via ballot initiative in the 2018 election, when 173,000 people voted for it. It was originally projected to raise $30 Million. Now the city gets to see what they voted for.
Proponents, mostly local community organizations, said the benefits far outweigh any potential drawback, especially for communities of color — which they argue are disproportionately affected by climate change. The measure’s steering committee includes Verde, the Coalition of Communities of Color, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and the Portland branch of the NAACP, among others.
Willamette Week reports today:
In just a few months, the city of Portland will begin investing the proceeds from a groundbreaking new tax on large companies.
“It’s a model for the rest of the nation,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said recently. “A beacon and a testament to our community’s belief in doing things a different way.”
The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund, or PCEF, will raise as much as $60 million a year from a new tax on big retailers. The money is supposed to supply clean, efficient energy and jobs to people the city has long slighted.
At its core, the concept transfers wealth from big corporations such as Walmart to low-income Portlanders of color. It’s a local version of the Green New Deal proposed in 2019 by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). It’s also part of a larger political effort to reshape who calls the shots—and who benefits—in America’s whitest big city.
Never has City Hall had so much money to spend with so few strings attached. The guidelines for spending the tax are squishy, as are the yardsticks for measuring the effectiveness of those expenditures. read more