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Bacon Public Lectureship "Integrating California's Climate Change and Fiscal Goals: The Known, the Unknown and the Possible"

Bacon Public Lectureship Winner, Karen Chapple, Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

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Feb 24, 2016
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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UCCS Bacon Public Lectureship
Karen Chapple
University of California, Berkeley


Integrating California's Climate Change and Fiscal Goals: The Known, the Unknown and the Possible

Few would disagree that California’s fiscal structure is complex, inflexible, and chappleinefficient. As a global leader in climate policy and sustainability planning, California needs to ensure that it generates tax revenue in a way that supports – or at least does not interfere with -- its climate goals. This paper examines the relationship between California’s fiscal structure and its greenhouse gas reduction targets for passenger vehicles. In theory, California’s imbalanced tax structure may contribute to inefficient land use patterns, thus increasing vehicle miles traveled. A review of the literature suggests that it is not clear exactly how taxes are changing behavior; adjusting the fiscal mix would would likely have minimal impacts on land development patterns. Further, California’s tax structure is notably progressive, and any shift away from reliance on the income tax risks making it less so. Many, if not most, Californians would not support a shift to property and sales taxes that sacrifices the poor for environmental goals, especially if the effectiveness of the new approach is uncertain. But both theory and evidence suggest some basic principles to guide future tax reform to be consistent with climate policy: Return more property tax to municipalities, share sales tax regionally, avoid penalizing new development, and most importantly, connect future taxes directly to environmental goals. Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is a Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Chapple specializes in housing, community and economic development, as well as regional planning. She has most recently published on job creation on industrial land (in Economic Development Quarterly) and accessory dwelling units as a smart growth policy (in the Journal of Urbanism). Her recent book (Routledge, September 2014) is entitled Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development. In Fall 2015, she launched the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy and planning solutions.

As a faculty affiliate of the Institute of Governmental Studies and the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, Chapple is currently engaged in three research projects (totaling $1 million) related to sustainability planning in California, specifically, on residential and commercial/industrial displacement. In her capacity as founder of the UC Berkeley Center for Community Innovation, she led research on the potential for gentrification and displacement near transit-oriented development (for the Association of Bay Area Governments); more effective planning for affordable housing and economic development near transit (for the Great Communities Collaborative); the relationship between the arts, commercial and residential revitalization in low-income neighborhoods; and the role of the green economy and industrial land in the California economy. She has also led a national contest sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to generate ideas for local and state job creation targeting disadvantaged communities. Chapple has also worked on regional and local economic development research projects in Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, and Abu Dhabi. She provides policy advice to many elected officials and agencies in the Bay Area and Sacramento and also serves as a member of the Berkeley Planning Commission (appointee of Councilmember Lori Droste).


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The views and opinions expressed during this lecture are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of UCCS.

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