The measure would authorize a 1% supplemental business license surcharge on large retail corporations, such as Wells Fargo, Apple, Comcast, and Banana Republic, that generate over $1 billion a year in national revenue and $500,000 in Portland sales. Revenue from groceries and medicine would be exempted.
Measure 97 was a statewide initiative, whereas the Portland Clean Energy Fund only applies to major retailers in the City Portland. Measure 97 did not exempt groceries and medicine, while the Portland Clean Energy Fund does. Measure 97 won in Portland with over 60% of the vote.
NAACP Portland Branch, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Verde, Coalition of Communities of Color, 350PDX, and Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club.
Most retailers have the longest supply trains, and don't account for greenhouse gases in the production and distribution of their products. For every dollar spent at a national retail store, 58 cents gets recirculated back into the community as opposed to 73 cents of every dollar spent at a locally owned store. These corporations can and should pay their fair share to address climate change and invest in our community.
There is no credible argument that the Portland Clean Energy Fund would meaningfully affect demand or hurt consumers. Major retailers determine their store prices based on national trends, so a 1% business license surcharge in Portland would not be significant enough to impact retailers' price determinations on a national level.
Administrative costs will be limited to 5% of the annual fund. A nine-person grant committee patterned after the successful Portland Children's Levy will decide on which projects get funded and assure accountability. Members of the committee will be required to have extensive experience in the fields pertaining to the Initiative and represent the economic and racial diversity of those most impacted by the effects of climate change.
Of the 249,000 single family and multiple family housing units in Portland 213,000 are in need of energy efficiency upgrading. The Portland Clean Energy Fund will effectively stop the boom-and-bust cycle of insufficient support for energy efficiency and solar by utilities and public agencies. In 2014, Oregon Public Utilities Commission cut residential energy efficiency incentives available via Energy Trust. Current solar funding is under threat by the Legislature, as are tax credits from Oregon Dept. of Energy. What’s needed is a stable source of long-term funding that is aligned with the scale of our challenges related to climate change and economic equity. We also need to provide resources for families that do not have the disposable income to spend to qualify for energy efficiency rebates and tax credits.
Energy Trust provides support and incentives for residential energy efficiency and solar to the level governed by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, whose mission does not include climate change or social justice. This effort will add much-needed dollars on top of Energy Trust incentives.
The Oregon Department of Energy's Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) program ended in 2017. Nearly 600,000 Oregonians participated in the program between 1977 and 2017, receiving incentives for ductless heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric vehicle chargers, and more. Energy efficiency projects like this need funding, and the loss of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit program further underlines the need for the Portland Clean Energy Fund.