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The Brutus Papers

What (Each Coastal State) Needs: A Tax Policy That Works With Sea Level RIse

This blog’s video – 27 minutes – is my recent talk before the Florida Bar Tax Section.

I was Florida’s Tax Section Chair in the mid-1970s.

A lot has happened since then. I “retired.” I trekked the seven continents. Our climate’s warming. Our seas are rising.

And, after a lot of “wet-feet, dirty-hands” trekking-learning, I finally began to “see,” not merely “look.”

My talk is about what I learned to see. I think it’s a message worth contemplating, even if you aren’t a Florida lawyer. After all, you’re a voter! And, maybe, a political contributor.

A bit of background:

• 75% of Floridians live in Florida’s coastal communities ( I am one of them).

• Florida is the state that’s “most vulnerable” to the ravages of sea level rise and climate change.

• Among those facts, I saw an urgent challenge for Florida’s lawyers: Florida has a desperate need for climate change/sea level rise “problem-solving revenues” in an age where politicians would rather brag about cutting taxes than solving problems. So, there’s a troubling disconnect.

Yes, my challenge is framed for Floridians.

But, Floridian’s are not alone. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of Americans live in coastal counties. That’s over 123 million people! Globally, 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. When Greenland melts – and it’s on a fast track – 80 of the globe’s 100 largest cities will be underwater. Florida may be a leader in vulnerability, but many of America’s – and our globe’s – other coastal communities are going to be quick followers.

Please don’t dismiss idea that we need problem-solving revenue before you hear what I have to say. But if 27 minutes is simply too much is this age of sound bites and smart-phone messaging, Yale University has a 1.5 minute teaser, “Rising Seas Could Swallow Florida’s Tax Base.

Thanks!


The Brutus Papers

What (Each Coastal State) Needs: A Tax Policy That Works With Sea Level RIse

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