Letter: Use occupancy taxes to address climate crisis

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I support Commissioners Brownie Newman and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara’s calls for the occupancy tax to be used for community needs vs. more tourism marketing [“Commissioners Approve $4.9M for Pre-K Expansion, Affordable Housing,” May 11, Xpress]. We have enough tourism here! We don’t need any more marketing to bring more tourists here. It has served its purpose, and now we should use that revenue more wisely.

And what greater need than to address the climate crisis that has undoubtedly affected our beautiful city with more rain and flooding every year. We have so little time as the 2030 (50% reduction in greenhouse gases) and 2050 (100% reduction) deadlines become closer [ipcc.ch], and I don’t see us talking about or doing enough to get us there. Since tourism and mass migrations to Asheville affect our infrastructure, we should focus on innovative ways to prepare and protect us from flooding with better roads and transportation (more bus routes and electrify everything).

And then there is the clean-energy transition and the affordable housing crisis (social justice component) that could be addressed as one if we were to funnel the revenue into sustainable, energy-efficient buildings that don’t require an energy bill. Imagine that! Then our citizens could spend money on the things they need the most — like food, health and fun times! Go Asheville!

— Steffi Rausch
Energy Savers Network operations coordinator


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One thought on “Letter: Use occupancy taxes to address climate crisis

  1. R.G.

    The TDA (hiding behind State legislature) has been raping the Asheville area for years. It’s time they realize that if they don’t help move some funds to benefit locals, locals just might give tourists the treatment they deserve. It won’t be pretty. But tough love rarely is…

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