State & local taxes - latest news and research

Avoid sea level rise. Raise your neighborhood.

The town raises the street. Property owners raise the adjacent buildings.

Raising streets to offset sea level rise

I just visited Port Angeles, WA to see how they coped with flooding . . . back in 1914. Built on mudflats, it was common for the young seaport to flood with every rainstorm and high tide. Their solution: raise the waterfront area.

Concrete walls were built along each side of Front Street and its cross streets creating the […]

Sea level rise predictions are . . . rising

Will rising water levels submerge your finances?

Tidal flooding from sea level rise from global warming New projections for global sea level published by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program are much higher than previously thought. The AMAP report takes into account new knowledge about ice loss from Arctic glaciers and the ice sheet melt of Greenland. The result: a doubling of the minimum sea level rise estimates made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate […]

Beach notices call attention to sea level rise

An in-your-face public service announcement could wake your town to the costs of climate change.

Sea level rise marker in Sarasota, FLSea levels are conservatively expected to rise 1 to 4 feet by the end of the century. Coastal residents, more vulnerable to the financial impacts of climate change, could benefit from some public education – earlier than later.

Lido Beach in Sarasota, FL installed an eight-foot-high marker in the sand showing projected rising sea levels […]

Your Social Vulnerability Index - make disasters less disastrous

Will your hometown find it extra costly to recover from the ravages of global warming?

Social Vulnerability Index for climate change disastersWhen it comes to disasters – storms, flooding, and health hazards – some hometowns are more vulnerable than others. Physical vulnerabilities can be obvious. If your town is close to the coastline, in a floodplain, on the tornado or hurricane tracks, or without a reliable water source, your long-term costs from a warming atmosphere will be higher.

But other vulnerabilities are […]

Commuting costs are only going up

Want to know where it’s cheap to commute? Check around your area with the H + T Index.

Commuting traffic SFOTime spent in traffic congestion cost the average San Francisco driver $1,996 last year. The Chamber of Commerce, Police Department and MTA are all noodling ideas to lower commuting times, like deploying officers to enforce “blocking the box” violations. But most of these ideas cost money.

What’s more, a new survey shows that a majority of San Francisco […]

Teaching how to reduce stormwater pollution

Kids with squirt guns get to pollute their watershed, then learn how unhealthy runoff can be prevented.

EnviroScape modelWe understand that global warming is boosting the frequency and intensity of rainfall (particularly the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast and Southwest). If a downpour causes flooding, we see the damage and inconvenience.

What most of us don’t see are the many costs from pollution caused when stormwater overwhelms our sewers, pollutes our streams and beaches, and gets into our drinking water.

Now […]

10-foot sea level rise by 2100. That's tomorrow.

The sooner we build protections, the less we’ll pay for them.

Climate-proof providence from sea level rise

Current hurricane barrier, Providence

For years, Rhode Island planning departments have been using 6.6 feet of sea level rise by 2100. Last month, based on new NOAA estimates, they decided 9 feet 10 inches is more likely. That’s only three more feet vertically, but miles of flooding horizontally!

The announcement came with the comment, “The changes to our shoreline are profound, dramatic, and there is […]

What infrastructure projects should we want?

What’s the cost of building new stuff compared to repairing what we have?

A climate-proof municipal budget means spending on maintenance, not new infrastructure.We may soon see an explosion of infrastructure spending. Trump, Clinton and Sanders all campaigned on the sorry state of America’s roads, water works, transit and bridges.

But what type of project will benefit you and me the most? Persuasive research says ‘Fix what we have. Don’t build more!’ There are two reasons: first what we have […]

First casualty of warming: state and local tax revenues

You couldn’t design a tax system more vulnerable to global warming.

Property tax and sales tax revenues are vulnerable to climate change.Florida has no income tax. State revenues are reliant on property and sales taxes. As a Tampa tax attorney, Dick Jacobs, points out, “There are no two sources of taxes more vulnerable to sea level rise than property taxes and sales tax. Florida’s economy is driven by tourism. Seventy-five percent of the people in Florida live in coastal communities. Seventy-nine percent […]

A Chief Resilience Officer in your city's future?

The difference between municipal lip service and actually creating a climate-proof city . . .

Examples of urban resilience in the face of climate change. . . might be the work of a CRO. Atlanta just appointed one, responsible for coordinating efforts across city departments against the effects of warming, among other concerns. Flood prevention, emergency management, fresh water security, and other adaptations to climate change are on the list.

If your city could do with more resiliency initiatives, suggest […]