conceptual scene, climate change

Denver voters will decide in November 2020 whether to establish an excise tax on electricity and natural gas.

The tax revenues would pay to create the city's Office of Climate Action and Resiliency, says a Wednesday news release from the citizen group Resilient Denver, which created the petition on Earth Day.

"Leading the world in tackling the Climate Crisis will require more from all of us," the release says. "More funds for solutions. More participation at meetings and hearings. More interaction with your elected officials. In short, more direct action."

The office would oversee and bolster efforts to abate climate change, including Denver's goal to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2040 and reduce city emissions by 80% by 2050.

One part of the tax would be based on electricity use, at a rate of $0.0005 per kilowatt-hours for residential customers and $0.010 per kWh for commercial or industrial customers who exceed half the average usage rate from the previous three-year average.

The other part would hinge on natural gas consumption, at a rate of $0.04 per thermal unit for residential customers and $0.08 for commercial or industrial customers who exceed half the average, until Jan. 1, 2025, when the tax would increase 10% annually.

Denver households with an income equal or less than half of the area median would be exempt, as would households participating in programs with 100% renewable energy.

The ballot initiative can be read in full on Resilient Denver's website.

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