TVW Update

Carbon tax initiative has enough signatures to head to Legislature

An initiative that would impose a new tax on carbon emissions while also cutting the state’s sales tax appears to be headed to the Legislature in January.

Initiative 732 adds a $25-per-ton tax on fossil fuels. To offset the higher gas prices that consumers will pay, the initiative proposes cutting the state’s sales tax by 1 cent per dollar. It would also lower the business and occupation tax on manufacturing and fund tax rebates for certain low-income workers.

Supporters of the proposal say it will reduce air pollution without changing the overall amount of taxes paid by individuals. Carbon Washington, the campaign behind the initiative, announced Wednesday it has collected 330,000 signatures, surpassing the 246,000 signatures needed to send an initiative to the Legislature.

The group intends to continue collecting signatures until Dec. 30, when it will deliver the initiative to the Secretary of State’s office, according to the group’s founder, Yoram Bauman. The additional signatures allow for room for error.

If the signatures are validated, the initiative first goes to the state Legislature. It can adopt the initiative as proposed, or send the measure to the ballot for the November 2016 general election. It can also approve an alternative to the initiative, which would place both the original and the alternative on the ballot.

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