S.F. Bay Area voters approve first-of-its-kind tax to fight impact of climate change

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A new annual property tax of $12 per parcel is expected to raise a half billion dollars over the next 20 years.

August 02, 2016

San Francisco. Photo: Russell Mondy/Creative Commons.

Voters in the San Francisco Bay area approved a new annual property tax of $12 per parcel aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. The first-of-its-kind tax will be used to restore tidal marshes around the San Francisco Bay, an action intended to help mitigate flooding from rising sea levels and climate-related storms. Restoring the wetlands will also provide habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife, as well as help to reduce pollution.

The measure, which passed with 69% of the vote, is expected to raise a half billion dollars over the next 20 years. Some opponents said the flat rate was unfair because it taxed everyone at the same level, but proponents said the $1 a month tax was not onerous. About 80% of the Bay’s marshes have already been lost to development, according to reports. One study estimates there is $62 billion worth of property at risk from climate change in the Bay Area.

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