This month, Portland City Council approved $118 million in grants to local nonprofits from the city's Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund. That's a huge amount of money at risk of being squandered on hugely speculative projects.

In 2018, Portland voters approved the measure by a 2-to-1 margin. The measure requires larger retailers to pay a 1% surcharge on retail sales in Portland. The tax burden is enormous — an average of $425 per Portland household. Mayor Ted Wheeler told his council colleagues the program is a "substantial amount of taxpayer money." Because the tax is on retail sales, it's regressive, meaning lower income residents pay a larger share of their incomes on the tax than do higher income households.