Climate change is a global emergency that all bodies of government must take a part in addressing. As Mayor in addition to listening to policy experts – I am committed to common sense solutions we can implement at a local level to do our part to address to address this crisis. For example one of the reasons I am in favor of reforming the Minneapolis Park Board is because they can be doing a better job as the environmental stewards of our city and they need to have more support from the Mayor’s Office. The Park Board used to receive about 8 cents of every property tax dollar and now that number has decreased closer to 7 cents.
There are also a number of simple zoning and planning changes that the city institute to make our city greener. One of the easiest is to require green roofs on new developments which will help to cut down on daily energy use particularly in the summer months. I will also institute a policy requiring new road projects to be painted and sealed in heat reflecting material. In addition I want to create stronger financial incentives for retrofitting homes to use solar energy. All of these smaller policy changes will hep reduce the “heat island effect” in Minneapolis and can be accomplished by policies adopted by the Mayor’s Office and City Council. Another important focus will be working closely with the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) to transition more of our city buses to hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.
However these projects and policy changes need to be paid for by in the city budget. One way to accomplish this is reversing the Mayor’s property tax cuts for some of the largest homes in the city. The property taxes due on specific properties in some of the wealthiest areas have seen decreases in thousands of dollars in the midst of world wide Covid-19 epidemic. These property taxes will be adjusted to pay for and support an environmental policy that will support a more aggressive approach towards climate change. A focused concerted environmental policy will be a top priority in my Mayor’s Office.