Florida County Commissioners Propose new Climate Doomsday Property Tax

South Beach, Miami Florida.

South Beach, Miami Florida. By AveretteOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4589902

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Commissioners in Miami-Dade County have proposed a new climate change levy on property developers who want to create new housing in “environmentally sensitive” areas.

Miami-Dade Could Ask Developers to Pay for Climate Change Costs

If you live in South Florida, you’ve probably come around to the idea of climate change and realized that, like it or not, sea levels are rising. But solutions to the problem are pricey, and there’s no clear consensus on how we’ll pay for the changes we need to continue living here.

Four Miami-Dade commissioners have suggested an idea so new it doesn’t appear any other city has implemented it: Create new “impact fees” that would require developers to basically pay for their portion of the burden of sea-level-rise-related costs.

“We have to be forward-thinking and open-minded about how we’re going to share responsibility for solving the challenge,” says Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who along with Commissioners Juan C. Zapata, Rebeca Sosa, and Sally A. Heyman sponsored the item.

The proposal, which is on today’s agenda, asks the mayor to prepare a report on whether such fees would be appropriate. (It’s worth noting that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said much of the discussion about climate change involves “doomsday scenarios which, frankly, I do not believe.”)

Read more: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-dade-could-ask-developers-to-pay-for-climate-change-costs-8576071

Credit to Mayor Carlos Giménez for resisting this nonsense.

If this proposal is adopted, developers wouldn’t pay – they would simply pass costs on to home buyers.

I have no problem with property developers being required to make the land they develop habitable. But in my opinion this proposal goes well beyond normal oversight – it requires developers to pay costs for events which haven’t happened yet, to cover a climate scenario which shows no signs of happening in the foreseeable future.

What would the impact of these additional costs be? It seems likely that extra costs would hurt poor people struggling to get on the housing ladder. But avoiding unnecessary burdens on poor people has never been a climate priority, as President Obama demonstrated when he promised to “make electricity rates skyrocket”.

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126 thoughts on “Florida County Commissioners Propose new Climate Doomsday Property Tax

  1. The money will just be spent. Like any other tax.
    In fact, it’s just a tax. The story is to get people to accept it.

    • Eric – you’re prolific, your articles are interesting and you often add valuable comments.
      But I do wish you’d stop with the liberal pimping of ‘poor people’ as if poverty granted special privilege. It does not. That’s the Marxist value system which elevates poverty to a virtue and your arguments are eminently mockable when you hang them on ‘the dead babby fallacy’.
      Rights is rights and nobody has a right to violate rights. The economic status of a person has zero relevance to this principle upon which the concept of liberty is based. Get some.
      Secondly- just to make it more absurd than it already was – what kind of poor people do you imagine are buying beach front property in Miami? Are you in a bubble?
      So there’s my feedback and I’m stickin’ to it.
      Poor people and dead babbies are not valid arguments for anything. It only makes this article a topic of mockery rather than one for discussion,.
      Schwa.

      • how about:
        It seems likely that extra costs would hurt young people struggling to get on the housing ladder.

      • gnomish, I agree 100%.
        I don’t see the connection between poverty and a $12M beach front starter condo.
        ferd berple seems to want the rest of us to cover the cost and I don’t live on the beach.

      • gnomish, I’m not a fan of wealth transfer, but I am also not a supporter of ham fisted government interventions which make life unnecessarily difficult for poor people.
        Poverty occurs for a lot of reasons, not just because you are a shiftless loser. I experienced poverty a while ago when a few clients had cashflow problems at the same time. I was literally down to my last $20 with creditors banging on the door. Almost ran out of food and toilet paper, and almost got kicked out of our house. Thankfully business recovered, thanks to a lot of hard work and some pointed conversations with clients who owed me money – but it was a lesson I won’t forget in a hurry.
        In answer to “what kind of poor people…”, not every low lying property which might be subject to such a tax is a millionaire’s mansion. A few years ago I lived in an inexpensive but beautiful low lying tidal riverfront cottage which was constantly under threat from hostile government “help”.

      • Eric? Who cares? People who own real estate will charge what they want. They’ll agree to let other rent seekers at what they want to the sales price simply because they don’t care. Call it “climate change” or ecological disaster, or more to the point hostile immigrants. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, the idea is to drive up the price of what people own so they get more for it when they sell. It shouldn’t be a mystery?

      • So sayith: gnomish – July 8, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        But I do wish you’d stop with the liberal pimping of ‘poor people’ as if poverty granted special privilege. It does not.

        gnomish,
        Have you bothered to tell Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, the congressional Democrats and/or all of the highly Democrat partisan lefty liberals that are demanding a “special privilege” increase of the minimum wage to $15/hour ….. that there is absolutely NO granting of such a special “minimum wage” privilege for any or all of the ‘poor people’ that are trying to exist at or below the current government specified poverty level?
        Get a clue, gnomish, ……. the ‘poor people’ designated as “living in poverty” have been granted hundreds (100’s) of special privileges ever since LBJ signed The Great Society Program as the Law of the land.
        So, get your clue by reading the facts @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Society

      • I understand what you say, Samuel Cogar, but no, i have not and will not be bothered to tell Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, the congressional Democrats and/or all of the highly Democrat partisan lefty liberals that are demanding a “special privilege” anything.
        As you correctly point out, privileges are granted by socialists in the name of poverty. It may be that you don’t follow the causal links, but it’s not poverty that merits any privilege. Rather it is marxist ideology that claims poverty is a virtue that should be rewarded (which it is not – notice the ‘should’ implicitly acknowledges that) and so they have made some efforts to bring their fantasy to life. It only requires victims who must be impoverished to finance the fantasy.
        No, Samuel- I think everybody with a braincell that’s successfully divided so there are a pair to rub together understands the implicit falsehood of marxist ideology and that poverty is not a virtue.
        Everybody, that is, except Eric, who, I thought, could benefit from a reminder as he’s unwittingly perpetuating the marxist ideology by promoting poverty as winning argument for something in the fashion of the marxist ideologue.
        I have truckloads of clues, Samuel. Need a few?
        Let me help you out- Have you seen an advertisement for soft drinks that exhort you to buy thei product because of poor people?
        Have you noticed a shoe company making a compelling case that you should purchase their expensive sneakers because of poor people?
        Have you been to any restaurants because you were drawn by the attraction of poor people?
        If the answer to those questions is ‘no’, then maybe you can explain how it is that Madison Avenue has entirely missed the boat on how motivational poor people are and how they influence everybody’s daily decisions on all important issues – like which new phone to buy.
        That’s just one clue- free for you – just to get you in the door so I can sell you more clues because poor people.

      • So sayith: gnomish – July 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm

        As you correctly point out, privileges are granted by socialists in the name of poverty. It may be that you don’t follow the causal links, but it’s not poverty that merits any privilege.

        gnomish, can you spell ‘oxymoron’?
        If so, look it up in the dictionary or a Google search and read its definition because that is exactly what your above statement is (with exception of the part about me being correct), …… an oxymoronic “weazelworded” response to CYA for the tripe & piffle rhetoric you posted in response to my commentary.
        “DUH”, in all of your above ‘song n’ dance’ gibberish you neglected to address your original claim of : “ as if poverty granted special privilege. It does not.
        gnomish, ……. educate yourself.
        Learn the difference between …… “granting special privilege” …… and …..….. “meriting any privileges”.
        “DUH”, even the LBGT claimers have been “granted special privileges” …. even though there is no logical or societal reason that they “merit said privileges”. And being PC (Political Correct) is neither a logical or societal reason to disenfranchise a majority of the citizens.

      • Break it down for me Sam.
        Explain oxymoron and how that word describes what you say it does.
        It seems to me you are merely quibbling and aren’t very clear on the definition of the word.
        Also, please clarify if you are claiming that poverty is a virtue. I’m trying to decide if you have a substantive argument or are drawing a distinction without a difference.
        Thanks for your valuable time.
        Let me give you another bonus clue:
        The place: Bellingham, Washington
        The homeless from the mission are in the park, having a lunch of hotdogs and single serving bags of assorted chips and assorted carbonated beverages served from 2 liter bottles in plastic cups of ice from a cooler. This lunch is provided by a local church group.
        There are not enough takers for all the food.
        Presently a van pulls up driven by a man from another church (his own) and he gets out to chat with the homeless. He wants them to come to his church parking lot for some more lunch and bags of toiletries and perhaps some ‘praise singing’, for he has microphones and loudspeakers set up on a dais.
        He loads up his van with them and off they go.
        He has just offended the first church group’s food servers by poaching their clients.
        But he needs to get his numbers up so his petition for funding will be more compelling.
        Teh Homeless are the product he sells.

      • Break it down for me Sam.
        So sayith: gnomish – July 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm

        privileges are granted by socialists in the name of poverty. …….. but it’s not poverty that merits any privilege.

        According to your latest tripe n’ piffle commentary ……. the socialists sure as ell think that “poverty merits privileges” ……. and what you think doesn’t matter to them.

      • Sam, you are a quibbler.
        Not only are have you entirely missed my point, but you don’t know the word ‘oxymoron’ and there’s no such word as ‘sayith’.
        So you are really struggling to quibble. You wanted to play clue but I’m tired of it.
        My point was and is that ‘po ppl’ is a logic fail. In point of fact, it has long been recognized.
        An appeal to pity (also called argumentum ad misericordiam, the sob story) is a fallacy in which someone tries to win support for an argument or idea by exploiting his or her opponent’s feelings of pity or guilt. It is a specific kind of appeal to emotion.
        Eric is fully aware of this because he is no dummy but for some reason wishes not to acknowledge it.
        Whether or not a socialist cares what I may think just has no significance to anybody else either- except, apparently, to you. I don’t care why.

      • An appeal to pity (also called argumentum ad misericordiam, the sob story) is a fallacy in which someone tries to win support for an argument or idea by exploiting his or her opponent’s feelings of pity or guilt.

        And just what does that have to do with “poverty not meriting any privileges”?
        Many, many orphan children, ….. that don’t even know what an argument is or how to voice one, …… are in destitute poverty because they are incapable of fending for themselves ….. and here you are telling the world that said orphans deserve no societal privileges.
        Now defend yourself and your claim that all orphan children should be allowed to starve and die an early death and not be a “drag” on society.

      • Ha ha. Defend these nuts.
        If you want to take care of teh children, you are free to do so.
        It doesn’t entitle you to anything of mine. Live it or live with it.
        Boo hoo.

    • You’re evading, Eric.
      Nobody asked about the causes of poverty and they have no relevance to the topic.
      Poverty may have some small tangential relevance but so do the sittin.down.parts of Kim Kardashian- just about as much.
      I’m choosing to ignore your personal biography because- irrelevant and boring too.
      Nobody cares what kind of poor people you wish to invoke for Pavlovian Rhetoric, dude.
      You are trying too hard to miss the point I made very explicit and clear.
      Are you self-aware enough to notice that?
      Just stop playing around. Be real.

      • I think it is reasonable to point out when people get scr*wed over by government climate measures. If climate measures caused no harm climate would be a non issue.

      • It is also, IMV, reasonable to point out CAGW taxes disporpotionately harm the middle and lower class. The Os electrical rates skyrocketing is a good example. Residential solar, is another.
        Developers pulling up stakes due to Govt regulation causes a loss of permanent and temporary jobs, etc…

  2. Seriously… In the 90’s they had the Impact Fee for those moving into the state. Now they are trying another way to rip people off. Shame on you, Florida.

      • I thought Cuban-Americans and Cuban immigrants dominated that area. Don’t Cubans vote Republican any longer?

      • Planning to avoid flooding is bipartisan in Miami-Dade. The sponsor of the bill is a republican as is one of the cosponsors. The other three are democrats. the board is split between democrats and republicans. the item passed unanimously.

      • MarkW, done here South Florida is a lot of New York/New Jersey retired Dem liberals. And their spawn, like Congresswoman and Dem Party Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

        • Wasserman-Schultz has made a career out of scaring elderly retirees, largely from a particular religious group.

  3. What is Miami-Dade actually proposing to do? “Impact fees” just sound like another random tax, of the nature of the old Catholic idulgences for sin.

    • At least the indulgences for sin actually did something (hypothetically).
      This is just a tax on a future prediction which the government will spend immediately (and not save for said future event).

  4. This posting quite nicely sums up what the whole global warming movement is all about: conning the citizenry out of their money.

  5. If the money is to cover future costs, then you can bet your sweet bippy when those costs arrive, the money won’t be there. City Council members will all have nice now boats, though.

    • “Bet your sweet bippy”… Dude, you’re really showing your age (as am I)!
      But I agree, it won’t be squirreled away waiting for when it’s needed. It will be spent and won’t mitigate any “impact” whatsoever.

      • Yes, in general cities and municipalities aren’t allowed to put money away in a “rainy day” fund for a specific purpose. At best it goes into the general surplus and will be promptly spent the next fiscal year. Granting for the moment the fantasy of harmful sea level rise, they will float a bond to cover adaptation costs. And raise the tax rate. Again.

  6. The politicians heard increased taxes and dermatologists will see a huge increase in skin cancer. Both are certain. No, no,no.. i wasn’t associating cancer with taxes, pure coincidence.

  7. I actually agree with the concept … but for a different reason. For decades the US has been subsidizing the wealthy so that they can develop and build mega mansions in ridiculous locations that have wonderful scenery. The problem is these homes get wiped out every few decades and we, the tax payers, get to pay to have them rebuilt via heavily subsidized Federal insurance. Wonder why the private sector insurance is way too expensive?
    Some years ago I was talking to an acquaintance who had built a retirement home on one of Florida’s barrier islands. He was giving this S. Louisiana migrant to Ohio grief for having to shovel multiple snows from my driveway that winter. I reminded him that it was much easier to shove 12 inches of snow from my driveway than for him to shovel 3 inches of sand from his living room. After all, those locations are called barrier islands for a very good reason.
    For some reason he failed to see the humor.

    • You are simply repeating rumors. Here are the limits from the NFIP.
      One to four-family structure $250,000
      One to four-family home contents $100,000
      Other residential structures $500,000
      Other residential contents $100,000
      Business structure $500,000
      Business contents $500,000
      Renter contents $100,000
      Premiums are based on amount of coverage and flood zone designations.

      • Premiums for flood insurance are subsidized by the taxpayer and tax money is used to build groins and beach renourishment; sometimes making the problem worse.

      • ..Personally pm, I don’t want anybody messin’ with my groin…it is fine the way it is !! ( And it still works sometimes ) LOL

      • Yes, and one way or the other the tax payer subsidizes all weather related damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms and anything else that destroys property. But my point was that tax payers do not subsidize million dollar mansions.

    • For some reason he failed to see the humor…..
      Like any sensible person would.
      I’m sick to death of hearing about all this “barrier” island crap. Where are you going to live in this country where you don’t have fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, snow storms, floods, droughts, sinkholes, and on and on
      Hurricanes are just more global warming crap.

    • I agree with dam1953, at least in principle. For decades the taxpayer has been picking up the cost for building in areas that are subject to the forces of nature. Taxpayer money is used to subsidize flood insurance in known flood areas and groins built to protect homes from beach erosion in areas where beach erosion can be expected. The ocean has been rising by around 3.3 mm per year and I have not heard anyone (except Obama who personally claimed “this is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow”) claim it won’t continue and in many areas beach erosion can be anticipated. Motivation be darned, these costs should be paid by those who incur them, not the taxpayer.

      • Couldn’t agree more. If you are dumb enough to want to build on the coast in florida then it is on you to sort the water as it rises. Pretty deceitful/crooked to deny it’s happening then sticking your hand out when it does.

      • pmhinsc
        Couldn’t agree with you more. If people are dumb enough to build on the coast in Florida then no way they should be helped by the tax payer when the sea rises as predicted. Kind of deceitful to deny its happening then ask for it to be fixed at no cost to you.

      • Marcus
        July 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm
        Unfortunately, Liberalism does not require common sense or logic !
        =======================================================
        You are correct, in fact Liberalism is a mental disorder which requires the infected individual to have a strong LACK of both Common Sense AND Logic

        • Thank Michael Savage for “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”
          Environmentalism is a religion.

  8. Impact fees are for addressing new infrastructure needs created by new growth.
    From the Impact Fee law in Florida, Florida Statue 163.31801
    “(3) An impact fee adopted by ordinance of a county or municipality or by resolution of a special district must, at minimum:
    (a) Require that the calculation of the impact fee be based on the most recent and localized data.
    (5) In any action challenging an impact fee, the government has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the imposition or amount of the fee meets the requirements of state legal precedent or this section.”
    Might be a problem for those to provide “recent and localized data” in order to calculate the fee.

    • Hi Tom
      I’ve got close (elderly) relatives in Canada, every winter they spend couple of months in Fort Lauderdale, but they are considering reversing the arrangements, with only two or three summer months in Toronto. This would entail buying a property in Florida.
      In your professional view, what effect if any, of this new regulation might have on already built homes?

      • None. I would suggest they look at the southwest coast of Florida. As an aside, be sure they check the Canadian laws on health insurance and how long one must be physically in Canada to qualify if the intend to use it.

      • Vuk, Fort Lauderdale would be an excellent choice. Good airport, and it is still possible to find nice 2br condos within an easy walk to the beach (in the North Beach area, not down by Las Olas) at very reasonable prices, with lots of shops and restaurants close. My MY2000 BMW convertible only has 44k miles as a result.

      • …Vukcevic, have them look into property in Ormond Beach ( directly North of Daytona)..I was a produce manager there as a kid and 90% of my customers were the sweetest old people you could ever meet ! ( nothing like grumpy olde me)..I lived 45 feet from the ocean for a 3 bedroom at $400.00 per month !

      • TinF, thought that might get a rise out of you. Lets see. Down toward Las Olas Blvd (central Fort Lauderdale) new condos across A1A from the beach now start at ~$1.5 million for a 1 Br depending on the development. I don’t think that is reasonable, but they are selling like hotcakes. In the North Beach area (Galt Ocean Mile and vicinity two miles further north, beyond Birch State Park beach) older building equivalent condos are $250k and up. More on yhe beach, sometimes less across A1A for an older 30 yr plus building. You want beach, you pay for beach. But prices are rising and new stuff is crazy. Google Auberge on the Ocean side of A1A a half mile south of us, for reference. They just presold a penthouse unit for $8.5 million unfinished/unfurnished. Somebody thought that was reasonable. First of two buildings sold out preconstruction in 3 months. Prices are almost $2k/sf. South Beach prices in Fort Lauderdale!

      • Tell them to look at older houses by SW 4th avenue and 17th. They are small but can have large lots. It’s not unusual to have extra rooms added. I think they cost around $240,000

      • Canadians moving to Florida? HAHAHA. I thought we are all heading north due to global warming and I live just south of the border of Canada!

      • Vuk-
        Pretty sure it’s six months. Also, property taxes may be higher for nonpermanent home owners.

  9. From the article …

    Long before the white sands and the sunbathers, Miami Beach was an overgrown, bug-infested swath of mangroves and swampland.
    [ … }
    In his 2006 book The Swamp, Michael Grunwald writes about “Crazy Carl,” saying that “by 1920 he had remodeled a worthless spit of swampland into a destination resort, but he had also ravaged a formerly pristine habitat for crocodiles, pelicans, shrimp, crabs and fish.”
    [ … ]
    Almost immediately, the winter playground began to flood. On September 18, 1926, the Category 4″Great Miami Hurricane” made landfall over Miami Beach, spewing tides from 10.6 feet on the ocean side to 6.4 feet on the bay side. Miami Beach was inundated.
    “If the guy who built Miami Beach could go back and redo it, the whole area should have been four feet higher from the beginning,”

    This has nothing to do with sea level rise or global warming. It is a problem that has been around for 100 years and has been ignored for 100 years.

    • I learned in school (Canada), that the Southern half of N.A. is subsiding. 40 years ago.

  10. I recently purchased a book “Miami Then and Now” featuring old photographs from the Miami area and contrasted with modern photos of the same subject. One photo is a 1920s era home built on a canal on
    Miami Beach. There was a doorway built overlooking the canal so residents could simply step into a boat docked next to the house. The thing is the door is still there and still the same height above water level. That means sea level rise on Miami Beach for the last ninety years has been … negligible.
    At least I now know which County Commissioners to vote against.

    • …No, no, no…that simply means that this area of land is floating on top of the Glo.Bull warming oceans !!….Umm, do I need to add a /Sarc thingy ?

  11. Ha ha ha! I just read the New Times article. The photo is of flooding near a Miami Metrorail station, which means it is well inland, far from Miami Beach or the shore. It often floods along Dixie Highway that runs parallel to Metrorail whenever there are heavy rains. We get those often, but that has NOTHING to do with sea level rise. This photo is the equivalent of photographs of steam coming out of a chimney with the light from behind so it looks dark and dirty. Jeesh!

    • I spotted the same thing. That is on the way to Miami Airport, caused by a tstorm and likely poorly maintained drains. But South Beach does tidally flood. See comment below.

  12. Do I understand this right?
    People who want to buy houses on the coast will have to pay a tax for the privilege of being flooded out in a few years time?
    Sounds fine to me!

    • No it means any new development would be subject to the additional impact fee if implemented. It would be levied against all development not just those on the coast (which is why it would fail). Of course the developer would then simply raise the selling price of the properties to cover the fee.

  13. How could the fees ever be linked to the amount of sea level change or other climate related quantities?
    If the sea level falls should there be a compensatory payment from the county?

    • The answer to the first question is they can’t but it won’t stop them from trying.
      The answer to the second question is hahahahahahahaha.

  14. I live in Fort Lauderdale on the ocean with zero SLR concerns. We just completed a 7 mile $63 million beach replenishment to better hurricane proof this shoreline stretch. Three years in planning and zero consideration to SLR. Just widen the beach 2x and create/plant dunes everywhere possible.
    Miami’s South Beach floods about twice a year now on extreme lunar high tides. It didn’t used to 30 years ago. The reason is simple and has nothing to do with climate change. North Miami Beach was a natural barrier island. Everthing else is landfill dredged from Biscayne Bay starting in the 1920’s. South Beach is subsiding as that landfill continues to compact, and as increasing amounts of freshwater are withdrawn from the Biscayne aquifer to supply a growing Miami. Virginia Key tide gauge (a natural barrier island just south of South Beach) shows 8.1mm/ year SLR over the past decade, so 8.1-3.1 = 5mm/yr of Biscayne aquifer land subsidence. A self inflicted Miami development wound.
    Cost for 80 Miami Beach pumping stations, new one way drain plumbing, and such to solve the subsidence based tidal flooding is estimated at $400 million. Nothing has been done yet. So the proposal is to tax new developments putting up high rise beach condos where 1 br start at $1 million, sold to wealthy Europeans and South Americans as vacation homes. Blame the tax on climate change rather than water mismanagement and poor city planning. Political cover.

  15. But in my opinion this proposal goes well beyond normal oversight – it requires developers to pay costs for events which haven’t happened yet, to cover a climate scenario which shows no signs of happening in the foreseeable future.

    And those fees will simply be folded into general revenue for Miami-Dade county and spent on whatever the Commissioners decide, so by the time disaster strikes, if it ever does, there will be no accrued funds at the county level to do anything about it.
    Remember all the money the various states got in the Tobacco settlement? Care to take a guess on how much of it has actually been spent for the putative purposes (quit smoking campaigns, tobacco-related healthcare costs)?

    • And those fees will simply be folded into general revenue for Miami-Dade county and spent on whatever the Commissioners decide, so by the time disaster strikes, if it ever does, there will be no accrued funds at the county level to do anything about it.
      No – those funds will be in the climate change lockbox – just like our solvent social security system – just ask paul krugman

    • No, Florida law requires the impact fees be kept in a separate account that is audited by the State for revenue and expenditures.

      • Do you know what qualifies as an “acceptable” expense? Do the fees have to be spent on impact related costs or mitigating projects?

      • In addition, there is a time limit by which the money has to be spent. Then the race begins. Can the lawyers get the money back for their clients before the agencies spend the money.

      • AllyKat
        “Do you know what qualifies as an “acceptable” expense? Do the fees have to be spent on impact related costs or mitigating projects?”
        Generally yes, but it also goes to planning/studies and the associated salaries of the staff & managing bureaucrats … budget item here and there.

    • Wouldn’t be fun to see another lawsuit from the class of people whose lives have been affected by tobacco products against the winners of the last lawsuit claiming to represent them?

  16. A few years back – perhaps still – Florida’s water quality in two cities was the worst in the nation, exceeding safe levels of several different elements and compounds. A slew of bad water reports have resulted in municipal systems having to be shut down. EPA has been little help in identifying these systems until lately when Flint lead problem brought it to light. Even the Animas Mine rupture, courtesy of EPA, has hardly registered as more than a blip in national consciousness. Millions more for the esoteric threat of global warming? Where are our priorities?
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/with-drinking-water-safe-enough-is-the-epas-goal-1457702107

  17. Most of my life I was living below sea level. Up to four meter below sea level. And I have never been afraid for too much water.
    The reason is, that here in Holland people are working together to create safe circumstances. The first ‘working together’ was already in the year 1122 near the city of Utrecht. We even created special semi-government institutions to control the water safety. The first one was created in the year 1255. Al Gore was wrong when he suggested that Holland should be drowned somewhere in this century. Our institutions just have to raise the dikes with a 20 cm – and that’s peanuts. The highest dike I know was the Hondsbossche Zeewering, in 1981 brought on a level of 11,5 meter above the average flood level. Without dikes we already would have been drowned hundreds of years, Al Gore……
    Travelling from California to Key West in Florida early in the nineties, I was astonished about the lack of protection I saw. I saw the low dikes (I estimated some 5 or 6 meters) in New Orleans and thought: “impossible that they will protect New Orleans”. In Holland the maximum wind level is around 100 or 110 km an hour, quite a bit lower than the 200 km Katrina had at landing in 2005. The day before landing I told my colleagues in the office that Katrina would drown New Orleans. Unfortunately I was right, thousands of people lost their lives and there was 153 billion dollar of damage.
    Our institutions in Holland, our “Waterschappen” have the right to raise special taxes and have the plight to guarantee safety. Besides that they are responsible for the water quality. They don’t get money from the state. Every household gets a yearly bill, on the average a 300 euro. Yearly, money is invested in improving the safety. Pro-active, we are not first waiting for disasters to happen. For a 300 euro a year we are living safely below sea level and our numerous canals and our lakes have a reasonable water quality.
    Perhaps a good idea for Florida and other ‘wet areas’ to have a look at our way of organising water safety? We feel safe with it, meters below sea level.

    • WR, I completely agree. Miami Beach is a self inflicted wound. Just 60 miles north we voted to do a simple beach restoration (otherwise our sand sweeps ever south toward Miami–it is much more complicated, but not for this comment). Whining when engineering provides proven solutions. As you have for many centuries. Regards.

    • I personally do not have a problem with an affordable tax that will be used on projects that will keep people safe. Unfortunately, a lot of taxes and fees seem to go towards unrelated expenditures or into “general” funds. I would love to know what percentage of plastic bag fees have been spent on cleaning up the rivers in DC and Montgomery County. I would really love it if my cynical guess were wrong and that all fees have been used as advertised.
      The Dutch know what they are doing, and are one reason I would not worry even if sea levels were rising as claimed. The technology exists to protect people. We just have to be smart enough to take advantage of it.

      • Ristvan, AllyKat, the key factor is not being smart in the technical way, but being smart in the organisational way. As I understood, water protection is one of the numerous (!) tasks of the US Army corps of engineers, a technical high quality organisation. As a citizen, you never know where their attention will be and the same for where the money stays. By making a separate institution just for water safety (which was later including water quality / cleaning waste water) in Holland we always knew who was responsible for the water management and what we were paying for. Simple people did not need to vote any more for complex (water management) problems. The institutions, independent from government, just had to do the work. Historical, these Waterschappen were regionally organised. Right now they are being brought together more and more, but we still have 23 of them in our little country of only 200 x 300 km: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_van_Nederlandse_waterschappen#/media/File:2016-NL-Waterschappen-prov-1250.png

    • Hmmm, I’m pretty sure the Dutch all slipped beneath the waves years ago. AGW said it was inescapable. Sorry about that!

      • John Harmsworth, we are still alive! Another proof that AGW is not right in their assumptions!

    • I’m a fan of Dutch flood management, a marvel of engineering, and the achievements of the Netherlands people make a complete nonsense of climate flood risk claims.

      • Eric, thanks for the compliments and yes, we (the Dutch) are proud of our flood management. Here, we just must smile when someone claims that the proven sea level rise of 20-30 cm a century (!) cannot be cancelled by making dikes of 20-30 cm high, resp. making them 20-30 cm higher. The starting point of the alarmists must be that people / governments are not able to organise themselves to adapt to changing circumstances, not even in a century. That is one of the presuppositions of the alarming machine. People in fear just listen to what someone nearby shouts…….. But some moment everyone will wake up. Thanks to people who just look at the facts and keep their head cool. And thanks to websites as WUWT.

    • I live there & below sea level as well. I do worry though how the pumping infrastructure will be handled during emergency situations, when more and more nuclear, coal & gas power generation facilities are shut down and we are getting more and more dependent on wind/solar (just like our neighboring countries who will likely be without wind too at times we are).
      Most small and large pumps in my area to my knowledge are all electric nowadays. I have no idea whether there’s sufficient diesel generator/pumping backup (with sufficient diesel storage).

  18. Pigou tax.
    Perhaps the money will go in Al Gore’s Lock Box. Same one he touted for Sociable Security.

  19. Miami has in the past actually issued building permits for construction, including public streets, in areas with an elevation below normally experience high high tides in canals with several blocks. This means that the intersection there, in front of a Walgreens Pharmacy, floods repeated, and gets featured in MSM articles about drowning Miami.
    It is perfectly reasonable to deny construction in any area at high risk of flooding, or require developers to bear the cost of defensive features.
    Much of the Cape Canaveral area, Cocoa Beach lies mere feet above the highest expected high tides. Wikipedia lists its average elevation as “0 ft (0 m)”.
    Building there is idiotic.
    Disclosure: I have spent many happy winters in the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area, and never been flooded out or hurricaned and have many friends that own property there. I do NOT own property there, except my sailboat, which, thankfully, floats.

    • County and city zoning and planning offices have an interest in approving structures in waterfront areas that can generate high property tax revenues.
      In 2012, Florida’s coastal properties accounted for 79% of all property value in the state. It certainly is a higher percentage today. One could argue that coastal properties are paying more than their fair share of taxes, since coastal areas being desirable, inflates property values and therefore inflated property taxes.
      One proposal being floated about (but not enjoying much support) is to ban any new coastal construction. As existing properties deteriorate, they are scraped and returned to natural areas. When asked about the forced taking of property, the response is usually mumbling and something about a government fund that would compensate the owners, or something. The resulting drop in property tax revenues is either ignored or considered a benefit that encourages more people to bail due to the tax-revenue-starved rapidly decaying infrastructure and services.
      “Insured property values in coastal states top $10 Trillion; Florida has most at risk; Miami ranks 2nd among metros”, Insurance Journal, June 17, 2013.
      http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2013/06/17/295207.htm
      Meanwhile, people are investing mountains of money in Florida coastal properties.

    • Kip
      Call me crazy. I own a house in Cocoa Beach. My parents bought it in 1956 (for $13000!!) and it has never flooded, nor is it in a flood zone. BTW elevation in Cocoa Beach is 9 ft.
      Regards,

      • Rotor ==> eGads! I hate to think of what it is worth today! (I also would hate to have to pay the taxes.) my friends buy, rehab, and rent out condo units with the understanding that their profit will derive from increased value accruing while the rents pay the mortgage and the costs.

    • Here is an excerpt from a March 14, 2016 article on Miami Beach-
      “There are 417 condo towers—a total of 50,060 units—currently under construction from Miami to West Palm Beach.”
      “Why would you put $100 million into infrastructure that won’t even survive the next foot of sea level rise?” demands Harold Wanless, chairman of the University of Miami’s geological science department and one of the best-known experts on sea level rise. In Miami, he’s known as “Dr. Doom.”
      “Listen, doom and gloom is a cottage industry,” Levine says. “I call them defeatists. We’ve had them throughout history. Can you imagine how many Americans said `forget it’ after our fleet got bombed in Hawaii? That we were never going to get the Nazis out of Europe after our troops landed in Normandy? That was that generation’s challenge, and I believe climate change is our generation’s challenge. We’re not going to run, and we’re not going to surrender.”
      He bends down to retrieve a penny from the gutter and put it in his pocket.
      “You look at the incredible development—the smartest minds, the most important cultural icons, the biggest investors in the world—they’re all buying in Miami Beach. It’s the hottest real estate market in the world. The market always tells you what’s going on. And the market tells you Miami Beach has a brilliant, bright, dry future.”
      http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/what-works-miami-beach-sea-level-rise-213731

  20. It’s just another tax. Does anyone really think it will be spent only on sea level rise related projects? Impact fees are pretty common and help defer costs of new housing so existing homeowners don’t have to pay all the cost of new schools, sewers, prisons, roads, etc. As a homeowner, I think new homeowners should pay some of that cost. The climate ploy is just that, a ploy.

    • Yeah, but how much of that money actually goes towards the costs of new housing? My county has had massively overcrowded schools for decades (since the mid/late 1980s or earlier). The roads still suck. The needed schools are never built prior to the housing, and the roads are rarely built or expanded prior to the completion of the housing. Considering the massive increase in housing and the lack of matching increase in support systems/structures, I have to wonder if these fees are being paid at all. If they are being paid, I do not know where the money is being spent. Probably on another school administration building.
      I agree that new property owners should have to fund a portion (I would say the bulk) of the required community upgrades. There does need to be a guarantee that the collected money will be spent only on mitigating the impacts. No slush funds!

    • It’s tax. You’ll be lucky to get anything worthwhile out of it. Normally, in economic terms more money attracts more competition for that money. What does more tax money attract? More politicians! Like a brighter porch light.

    • I agree that the money would probably just disappear into general revenue.
      The other problem is the politicians who tell us they are going to cut out the gravy train and save us from those who are wasting our tax money. The net result is that our infrastructure crumbles and people die.
      For another perspective, see

      Wim Röst says: July 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      above.
      The contrast with the Dutch situation is stark. They have competent flood protection. We have building departments who think it’s OK to build on a floodplain.
      I fear that the only solution is to replace our voters because we’re the idiots who elected the myopic penny-pinching politicians in the first place. 🙂

      • Florida should turn the money over to the Dutch who could then implement a proper program of flood prevention. Plus then Florida would only have to pay half. Isn’t that how it works with the Dutch?

      • Steve from Rockwood, surely a traditional organisation like the Dutch have is not too expensive. For example in 2003 traditional tasks of the Waterschappen (read dikes etc.) costed us a 0.9 billion euro. Compare that to the 153 billion dollar damage from Katrina. A yearly spending on protection of that 0.9 billion protects 17 million people very well, so indeed, it is a cheap solution.
        (Besides the above mentioned Waterschappen, we also have a national organisation, Rijkswaterstaat, which is occupied with national projects. A quick look at some figures suggested me expenditures of another billion euro a year for national waterworks. But, together it still is not too much to feel safe)

  21. The problem the county may be addressing is beach erosion Here’s a segment from an informative documentary call “Sand War” , go to time mark 4:28 where some believe that development close to the beach does not allow the sand to seasonally build up which prevents this erosion.
    There’s another segment where they believe to same thing is happening in the Maldives but is worsen since sand is taken (drudged) from the ocean near the beach area for housing development. So very little sand is allowed wash up for the beach build up.

  22. Segment on the Maldives at 4:13. I think its relevant to this site (and this post) since alarmist are blaming the rise of CO2 to the sea level rise.

    • When CO2 is rising, coral should grow faster. And deliver more coral sand. But other processes are working out negatively. Lots of corals are destructed by ‘fishing activities’ with dynamite. One bomb under water and the half dead fish will float to the surface. And the coral is gone. It might even be worse. In Bali I once visited a part of the coast, famous by its beaches – as my sister said after she was there 20 years before. The hotel I booked, now was deprived of beaches, and of clients. Someone has been ‘harvesting the coral’ to make cement. Yes, really. Right now, the beaches are gone and the bordering land is in danger of erosion. Therefore you can find there ugly constructions in front of the coastline, made of …….. cement. No fish nor tourist is interested. And those cement structures don’t produce protecting sand.
      Very often it is not sea level rise which is the problem, the coral grows with the sea level and was able to survive 70 meters of Holocene sea level rise. But now corals are damaged, not by the climate but by local people.

  23. They tried tis in Santa Barbara a few years back. They were going to draw a line where the sea would be in the near future.
    Realtors started advertising “future beachfront property”.
    Current beachfront owners apply for a reduction in property taxes due to expected reduction in value.
    The measure was then shelved.

  24. Wouldn’t it be simpler to ban development on lots which haven’t had their grade raised to X feet above current sea level?

    • “current sea level” is a statistical calculation that changes every decade or so. The authorities should be measuring the height of the highest tides and look at the trend (which for 100 years is downwards where I live). The authorities measure the height of my house by flying over it in a plane equipped with radar, which gets a different and wrong result to surveyors with very accurate equipment.

  25. If there’s a Doomsday Tax and Doomsday actually arrives, who will be around for a payout?

  26. Imagine what fun would happen if the EU were to adopt laws banning development and insurance both private and commercial for such being in seismic zones, and the forced relocation of Italians to the Ukraine and Icelanders to Spain.

  27. Tax-and-spend Liberals never seem to appreciate that the ONLY people who pay taxes are workers. The “rich” have access to ways to avoid paying taxes (often involving large contributions to election campaigns) and businesses simply pass the added expense along to the consumer in higher prices for products/services. In short, all taxes only hurt the consumers.
    There are no guarantees that tax monies collected will be used exclusively for the original stated purpose.
    Also recall the 1991 10% “Luxury Tax” that had to be revoked only 2 years later because it was was lethal to the businesses that it taxed.

  28. Impact fees are in use in many states around the Country. They make good sense when imposed for the proper reasons. Consider a new development of say 100 single family homes. You can expect the community to experience increases in students attending school, water usage, sewer usage, electrical usage and the potential for increased needs for emergency personnel and equipment. These are directly related to the expected increase in population living in the community. The developer will make lots of money and should be required to pay for these expected increases as a condition of approval for his plans. While the developer can pass the fees along as part of the price of the new homes, there is a limit on how much that would be to keep from pricing himself out of the market. It all works pretty well until some comes up with a hair brained idea like this one. Never doubt that politicians will say and do anything to get more money out of the people. Luckily at the local level the average citizen, if they pay attention, can have an impact on these decisions.

  29. Obama actually says in the video, “under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”. He does not say “make electricity rates skyrocket”. Please either remove the quote marks or correct the quote.

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