by Eileen McGinley
Oct 24, 2013 | 1060 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print

It is true we have to take serious measures to combat climate change. The major challenge is weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, our economy demands more growth, and our world runs on carbon.

I agree small actions are cumulative and can make a difference, but only as long as they have a specific purpose targeted toward a larger goal, and a can demonstrate measurable and meaningful outcomes. The Commissioners believes that Question 1A calls for specific remedies – funding projects that reduce green house gas. In my opinion, this is too broad a purpose. What projects? For how long? How will results be measured?

I can think of one program this tax could fund. If Question 1A passes the tax funds could be used to subsidize the Gondola. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if Gondola subsidy is driving this tax.

Why should the tax not fund the Gondola? In a document known as the Gondola Agreement, MVHOA and Mt. Village government agreed to always and forever fund the Gondola in exchange for increased development density, which was worth many tens, maybe even hundreds of millions.

It is vital the voting public be aware that once this ballot question passes, voters will have no further say in how the funds are spent. We’ll be turning over our power to a politically appointed committee. Like the Library.

According to the ballot language, an Energy Fund Committee, appointed by the Commissioners, will decide how to spend the money. Other than possibly funding the Gondola, projects of unknown origin will be considered.

A better approach, perhaps, could be for our creative residents to submit proposals, with corresponding budgets, timelines and measurements, and ask the Energy Committee to select ones to be placed on a ballot, and let the taxpayers choose which ones should be funded. Otherwise, we’re being asked to trust the politicians’ judgment in these matters. Experience tells us this goes against common sense. Too often, elected officials listen to special interests and do not act for the common good. That’s why we have a global warming issue in the first place. We subsidize oil companies, allow drilling in sensitive places, and allow fracking with little or no taxpayer control. And we spend relatively tiny amounts on R&D for alternative energy.

I believe the ballot language is much too broad to be effective and it fails to state parameters for measurement or review. Also, in this economy, we don’t need more taxes. Although the question says the fund will be used ‘solely’ to fund programs to reduce green house gas emission…” read on a little further to where it says ‘BUT’, and lists a broad set of exemptions.

The number one factor for increases in GHG is growth - local, regional, global. In SMC we have allowed home sizes to grow way out of proportion to their needs. Studies show buildings in San Miguel and Ouray Counties account for 63% of ghg emissions - 33% of that figure comes from residential buildings. The report did not distinguish between counties or Mt. Village from Norwood or Telluride, but I think we can guess where the largest residential buildings are located.

Private jets produce huge amounts of ghg, as do ski lifts and driveway/sidewalk melts. I think it’s wrong to burden the lower/middle income families and charge 1% on a basic necessity when we do not know how the funds will be spent, and when we have not first taxed the biggest ghg producers. Here are five ideas to consider instead of this tax.

1) Create legislation that limits house sizes. 2) Require that new construction must qualify for a LEEDS Silver rating. 3) Establish a carbon tax on building sizes larger than 3,000 sf. 4) Establish a carbon tax on private planes flying in and out of Telluride Airport. 5) Require that driveway melts run primarily on solar.

Please vote No on 1A, also known as the Greenwashing Tax.

Sincerely, Eileen McGinley
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet