Energy

Portland One Step Closer To Implementing A New ‘Green Tax’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

The cost of living for Portland, Oregon, residents might soon be rising if supporters of a green energy initiative are successful and the city is subjected to a new tax.

The Portland Clean Energy Fund, a campaign that launched in May, is pushing Oregon’s most populous city to enact a tax on retailers that would fund a litany of green energy programs to combat climate change. Revenue from the proposed fee would fund rooftop solar panels, energy efficiency, home weatherization and other initiatives. In order to get the measure on the November ballot, supporters have until July 6 to collect 34,156 valid signatures.

Campaign backers now claim they have enough signatures to move forward.

“Supporters are confident they have surpassed that threshold,” The Portland Clean Energy Fund stated in a Monday news release, according to the Portland Business Journal.

If the measure qualifies for the November ballot and voters pass the measure, Portland residents would be hit with a new business tax. Large retailers — with a national revenue over $1 billion and Portland revenue over $500,000 — would be subjected to a 1-percent city business license surcharge. Around 120 companies in the city would be affected. Campaign supporters contend the tax will only hit “the largest corporate retail chains” while exempting groceries and medicine. Revenue from the tax is expected to generate around $30 million a year. (RELATED: Solar Lobby Fighting To Get Its Subsidies Back)

Portland voters are likely to pass the measure, supporters noted. Ballot Measure 97 was a 2016 statewide measure similar to the green tax proposal. That statewide initiative, while roundly defeated by Oregon voters, was supported by Portland voters.

The Portland Business Alliance and other business groups are currently organizing a rival campaign to defeat the measure.

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