Gov. Kate Brown must figure that if Barack Obama could govern by executive order, so can she.
So right before she was to head for Germany to attend the United Nations climate talks she imposed new taxes through Executive Orders 17-20 and 17-21 with absolutely no public debate.
Brown doesn’t call her Executive Orders a tax. She calls them a direction to the state Department of Business and Consumer Services’ Building Code Division (BCD) to amend the state’s codes with respect to making new residential and commercial structures “solar ready”. She also mandated that all new parking structures for home and commercial buildings be wired for a charger for an electric vehicle by October 2022.
But all this will cost builders extra money, and they will pass those costs on to homebuyers and building users.
So, at a time when the state is struggling with a lack of affordable housing, Gov. Brown is unilaterally imposing additional costs on Oregonians to burnish her credentials with the environmental lobby. Would those now endorsing Brown’s move be as pleased if she had unilaterally eliminated some environmentally- friendly sections of the state’s building code?
There is always a cost associated with retrofitting a building to accommodate solar. With the proper solar ready preparations, these measures may cost less if done at the time of building construction. But the decision on whether to impose a requirement for solar ready structures should be made in a public process.
Building code amendments are typically accomplished by legislative action or the adoption of proposals from the public. Legislative action takes time and requires public hearings. If a member of the public proposes an amendment, the Division insists that proposals:
- Be shared with people and organizations that will be impacted.
- Be accompanied by substantiating evidence or information to support the change
- Include the cost impact the change would have on building construction.
Brown didn’t bother with any of these steps, including projecting costs. She probably doesn’t know what all this is going to cost….or care..
Oregonians should see Brown’s move for what it is, a new tax on homebuyers and a dangerous level of executive overreach.