"GREENING" THE TAX CODE AND PROMOTING COORDINATED FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN CITIES
WHEREAS, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level", and
WHEREAS, recent scientific studies (the journal Nature) indicate that there is a limit to the amount of carbon dioxide from human sources (1.1 trillion tons) that can be emitted to the air between 2000 and 2050 to avoid an increase in warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and that the world has already emitted one-third of that amount in the first nine years of the 21st century; and
WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors through its Mayors Climate Protection Agreement signed by more 945 mayors has committed to the goal of making systematic and substantial reductions over time in greenhouse gas emissions, beginning with the targets set forth in the Kyoto Protocol; and
WHEREAS, the nation's mayors have been instrumental in advocating for creation and funding of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to develop and implement Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategies in more than 1400 cities nationwide; and
WHEREAS, a national, comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must involve encouraging more compact, mixed-use development that results in fewer vehicle miles driven, coordinated development among alternative forms of transportation, housing and commercial facilities, recycling and redevelopment of brownfields, abandoned properties and other underutilized urbanized land resources as well as more aggressive efforts to preserve the nation's farmland; and
WHEREAS, the nation's tax system often rewards many carbon intensive and/or high carbon emitting industries and development patterns and does little to encourage green commercial development, compact housing, and transit oriented development that can reduce carbon emissions and result in a significantly lower carbon footprint per person, and
WHEREAS, many tax preferences actually encourage consumers to make choices that result in more carbon emissions, especially in the area of transportation and commercial development, as opposed to fewer carbon emissions;
WHEREAS, few, if any, mechanisms exist that afford cities and their metro areas the opportunity to negotiate green and sustainable development investment strategies that coordinate multiple federal agencies actions in a concerted effort to promote sustainable development within cities and other urbanized places.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the Administration and Congress to reform and "green" the tax code by eliminating or significantly reducing tax preferences to entities emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the nation's mayors call on the Administration and Congress to include in its tax reform package the creation of a Green Zone Investment Tax Credit and Green Housing Tax Credit that will encourage transit-oriented development; mixed-use commercial and multi-family mixed-income housing development; and/or brownfield redevelopment, that can help reduce per capita carbon emissions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Green Zones shall be approved by the Federal government, as proposed by cities and/or their metro areas, within which Green Zone Investment Tax Credits and other tax preferences such as favorable depreciation schedules, are eligible for use, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the mayors also call on the Administration to create a demonstration program in a select number of cities, called the Negotiated Sustainable Development Investment Strategy, wherein key federal government agencies with a city and/or its partners in a metropolitan area, supported by state participation, can formally negotiate local "sustainable development investment strategies" that coordinate multiple federal agency actions and funding, including those of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and others, and commits the agencies to support and fund such coordinated strategies leading to reduced carbon emissions and coordinated investments, including but not limited to designated green zones.