Boulder County Commissioners Consider Sustainability Tax

A poll was commissioned by Boulder County to test voter support for some type of tax to fund sustainability measures. Respondents were asked if they would support either a property or a sales tax increase that would fund programs such as EnergySmart’s energy-efficiency retrofits to homes and businesses; home weatherization programs for low-income families; “infrastructure to increase local food production”; zero-waste initiatives; forest health and wildfire mitigation efforts; and countywide transportation alternatives.

According to the results of the survey, fifty-six percent of those polled said that if the election were held today, they’d vote in favor of it. Whether that bodes well for a tax ballot measure depends on whom youask. Commissioner Will Toor said the poll results indicate a proposal is “viable, but by no means a slam-dunk.” The County’s pollsters said as “a rule of thumb is that successful tax proposals should start with a support levelabove 60 percent,” and noted that both the proposed sales tax and proposed property tax fell short of that threshold.

It’s estimated that a 0.15 percent sales tax would generate about $6 million a year, while a 0.75-mill property tax levy would produce a projected $4 million annually. The Commissioners emphasize that the poll results will not be the only factor in their decision to pursue a ballot question; they have until August to decide if they want to proceed. Note: The Boulder City Council is also considering sustainability tax measures (see below) and the question is how would the voters react to multiple ballot questions related to the same issue by two different jurisdictions?

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