Learn about ballot items 2A and 2B

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) Tax is set to expire in March 2023. Boulder voters will see a proposed Climate Tax on the ballot this November that, if passed, would provide long-term climate and resilience funding for the community.

  1. Plan

    Feb. 22 City Council

  2. Implement

    Ballot Item Finalization

  3. Complete

    November Election

  4. Community Engagement

    Post-Election

Project Overview

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) Tax, which provides $1.8 million in funding for our community’s climate work is set to expire in March 2023.

To close this funding gap, the city is proposing a new Climate Tax that would combine and replace the CAP and Utility Occupation taxes. The new Climate Tax, as proposed, would raise $6.5M per year to fund city-level climate and resilience efforts. Like all taxes, the proposed climate tax would requires voter approval before going into effect.

Background

CAP Tax Overview

The CAP Tax provides critical funding for our community’s climate work. It is a tax on electricity use and is collected on Xcel Energy bills. It generates about $1.8 million per year to fund some of the city's climate work.

CAP Tax Funding Supports Several City Climate Efforts

Since its inception in 2007, the CAP Tax has provided over $22M in critical funding for Boulder residents and businesses through efforts like:

  • Direct cash assistance to homeowners, landlords and businesses to fund energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Development of local solar energy projects.
  • Expansion of city transportation electrification projects and city-owned electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Regulation and building codes.
  • Policy and regulatory reform.
  • Partnership and international collaboration.

For more on how CAP Tax dollars have been invested and specific accomplishments, visit the city newsroom.

City of Boulder Climate Funding

There are two taxes currently collected that provide funding dedicated to the city’s climate efforts:

Climate Action Plan (CAP) Tax: A 2006 voter-approved tax on electricity consumption. This generates approximately $1.8 million per year and funds the city’s climate and energy efforts and will expire in March 2023.

  • Average Annual CAP Tax Rates
    • Residential Customers: $27 per household
    • Commercial Customers: $86 per customer
    • Industrial Customers: $128 per customer

Utility Occupation Tax (UOT): In 2020, voters approved an extension of the UOT through 2025 at a level of just over $2 million per year to fund the city’s partnership with Xcel Energy.

  • Average Annual UOT Tax Rates
    • Residential Customers: $16 per household
    • Commercial Customers: $155 per customer
    • Industrial Customers: $577 per customer

Funding Proposal

New Climate Tax

By creating a new climate tax, the city can simplify climate investments, better align with the scale of investment necessary and address inequities created by the current tax.

  • New Climate Tax through 2040
  • Replace CAP Tax and UOT
  • Raise revenues to $6.5 million per year
  • Change rates for customer classes

Proposed Changes to Average Annual Costs, By Customer Type

Customer Type

Current Annual Cost (CAP + UOT)

Proposed Annual Cost (Climate Tax)

Residential

$42.95

$49.66

Commercial

$292.42

$487.37

Industrial

$1,084.11

$1,806.85

Total Revenue for Climate Efforts

$3.9 million

$6.5 million

Climate Tax Investments

If approved, revenues from this tax would support ongoing and new climate and resilience projects. Those could include:

  • Direct cash assistance to homeowners, landlords and businesses to fund energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Projects such as microgrids and energy storage to support resilience and renewable energy development.
  • Residential and commercial building electrification.
  • Expansion of transportation electrification projects and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Advancement of natural climate solutions.

Wildfire resilience projects could include:

  • Funding for a dedicated fire risk assessment team.
  • Grants to support residential wildfire risk prevention measures like vegetation management, fence reconstruction and roofing/siding replacement.
  • Strategic undergrounding of power lines.
  • Ecosystem restoration.

Dig into the Details: Read the Climate Tax FAQs

The city has prepared responses to many of the frequently asked questions about the proposed Climate Tax. Read the FAQs.

Community Feedback and Engagement

Community Survey Results

Image
A graph that depicts responses to a May-June 2022 community survey conducted with 1180 Boulder residents over the age of 18. According to the results, 78% of respondents would vote yes; 19% would vote no. There is a city logo on this image.

In May and June 2022, the city conducted a statistically valid survey to collect feedback on the tax proposal.

Broadly, the results confirm that the community is deeply concerned about the climate crisis and is largely supportive of the city’s tax proposal.

Key findings include:

  • More than three-in-four respondents (78%) say they would vote yes on the city’s proposed climate tax.
  • Respondents are concerned about climate change and global warming. More than half of voters (58%) are “extremely worried,” while another 20% say they are “very worried.”
  • A plurality of respondents (36%) ranked “addressing the impacts of climate change” as the most important issue facing the city.

There were 1,180 responses to the survey from City of Boulder residents ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted online and via telephone May 19 through June 2 by polling firm Magellan Strategies. The poll has a margin of error of +/-2.83%. A summary of the results is available online.

Engagement Opportunities

You can also share your ideas and feedback online. Use the city's Be Heard Boulder platform to share your perspective.

City Council Process

City Council discussed this ballot item several times in 2022 .

Council will consider ballot item language later this summer.