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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Initiative 732: carbon emission tax

Election Results

Option Votes Pct
No 1,634,291 59.26%
Yes 1,123,568 40.74%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Measure

Washington voters will decide whether to approve the nation’s first carbon tax in November, a measure supporters say would help the state cut greenhouse gas emissions and set precedent for a national climate policy.

But I-732 has failed to gain support from some of the groups that would typically back efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Both the state’s Democratic Party and the Sierra Club have opposed the initiative, saying it isn’t the right approach to climate policy.

Business and labor groups also are lobbying against it, saying I-732 would be a “job killer” that would shift employment to other states and countries.

The proposal is modeled after a similar carbon tax in British Columbia. Supporters say it is a fair, market-driven approach to reducing carbon emissions, spreading costs across both households and businesses. Supporters also dispute Kaiser’s position that the initiative would reduce the company’s global competitiveness. Supporters describe the initiative as a “tax shift” that raises the cost of carbon but mitigates the effect on manufacturers and Washington families, who would pay more for gasoline, heating fuel and electricity.

Under I-732, each ton of carbon produced in Washington would be taxed by $15 beginning in July 2017. The tax would increase to $25 per ton the next year, and would rise annually until it hits a maximum of $100 per ton.

Washington residents would see a 1 percentage point drop in the state’s sales tax over two years if the initiative is approved and manufacturers paying the new carbon tax would get a break on the state’s business and occupation tax, though some business leaders have said the cut in the B&O tax would not be enough to cover the new carbon tax.

Complete Coverage

Washington rejects carbon tax, but backers are undeterred

Washington’s carbon tax initiative was billed as a bipartisan approach to curbing carbon emissions. But voters in this progressive state roundly rejected the measure that drew opposition from the fossil fuel industry and, more surprisingly, many major environmental groups.

Most Washington voters supporting a minimum wage hike, court review of gun ownership for dangerous individuals

A majority of ballots voted Tuesday were in favor of a measure to stair-step increases to the minimum wage in Washington state, as well as a measure that would allow families to petition to remove guns from those deemed a threat to themselves or others.

A reluctant no on Initiative 732

Initiative 732 proposes a carbon tax and frames it as an economist would: If you want less of something, tax it. So it taxes carbon and lowers the sales tax to achieve a roughly revenue-neutral result. As a result, carbon would finally have a price, which would temper its use and make energy alternatives more competitive, and the state could become a model for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers would see the tax at gas pumps and in their power bills. They’d get a break of 1 percentage point in the state sales tax.

Nation’s first carbon tax on the ballot in Washington

Washington voters will decide whether to approve the nation’s first carbon tax in November. Initiative 732 has divided environmentalists and is opposed by business and labor groups.

Dan Wilson and Kyle England: Initiative 732’s carbon tax hurts families, small businesses

The more taxes we pile on businesses, the more likely we are to see them head east to Idaho or states with far fewer restrictions on carbon emissions.

John Covert: Time to take bold climate action with Initiative 732

The cost of doing nothing outweighs any cost of implementing I-732. The state’s own estimates

Carbon tax initiative subject of Oct. 20 panel discussion

Washington’s Carbon Tax referendum is the subject of a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Walgreens Auditorium at WSU Spokane, 205 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Washington limits greenhouse gas emissions from large polluters

Washington state adopted a new rule Thursday to limit greenhouse gas emissions from large carbon polluters, including potential impacts on Spokane’s Waste to Energy facility, joining a handful of other states in capping emissions to address climate change.

Elway poll: Voters split on November intiatives

Three of six ballot initiatives in the November election would fail if voting were held today, a new poll suggests.

Carbon tax initiative goes to November ballot in Washington

An initiative that would create a carbon tax in Washington state is now headed to the November ballot.

Editorial: Editorial Roundup: Carbon pricing becomes scrambled

The Legislature should put an alternative to I-732 on the ballot to fix an inadvertent flaw.

Ed Mahlum and Joe Ryan: Carbon tax is best climate change solution

By establishing a carbon tax and lowering the sales tax, Washington state can be at the forefront of addressing the long-term consequences of climate change.

Carbon tax initiative headed for Legislature

Supporters of a carbon tax say they have enough signatures to send Initiative 732 to the Legislature next year.