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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Carbon tax initiative headed for Legislature

OLYMPIA -- A proposed initiative to levy a carbon emissions tax while cutting the state sales tax has enough signatures to go to the Legislature next year, supporters said Wednesday.

Initiative 732, which would place a tax on fossil fuels and energy generated by them, has some 330,000 signatures and will continue to gather names through Dec. 30 when they will be submitted to the secretary of state, Yoram Bauman of Carbon Washington, the sponsoring organization, said in a press release.

In exchange for the carbon tax, which would likely be passed on to motorists at the gas pump and utility customers in their bills, the proposal calls for tax credits for low income families and a cut in the business and occupation tax on some manufacturing. 

As an initiative to the Legislature, the proposal needs at least 246,372 signatures from registered voters. The cushion of more than 80,000 extra signatures is usually enough to guarantee certification. If that happens, the proposal would go to the Legislature in January, which has the option of passing it as is; rejecting or ignoring it, which would put it on the November ballot; or passing an alternative, which would put both the original and the alternative on the November ballot.

Despite calls from Gov. Jay Inslee to adopt a carbon emissions tax as a way to fight global climate change, lawmakers of both parties have ignored legislative bills calling for such a change.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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