Initiative 732, the nation’s first state ballot measure to impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels, failed Tuesday on a crowded slate of statewide initiatives facing Washington voters this November.
The nation’s first state ballot measure to impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels failed Tuesday on a crowded slate of statewide initiatives in Washington.
Initiative 732, which sought to apply a tax on energy-derived coal, oil gas garnered just 42 percent after ballot counts around the state, including an early Wednesday update in King County. King County was the lone county in Washington to support the measure.
Supporters of the campaign expressed disappointment, but nonetheless described the measure as a template for future efforts.
“While we did not pass the nation’s first carbon tax, many states around the country are looking at I-732 as a model and we expect a nationwide movement to take root in the years ahead,” sYoram Bauman, founder and co-chair of Carbon Washington, said in a prepared concession statement late Tuesday.
The measure had trouble marshaling consensus among progressive and environmental groups. State budget analysts also projected I-732 — whose authors tried to make “revenue neutral” — actually would bring a short-term cut to Washington’s general fund of $797.2 million over six fiscal years. Backers dispute the analysis.
The Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee separately opposed the measure due to budgetary and other concerns. Some groups discussed supporting an alternative measure in the future aimed at raising surplus revenue to invest in clean-energy and other pollution-reducing projects.
A late influx of campaign money from oil and utilities industries sought to torpedo the measure.
Kyle Murphy, co-director of the Carbon Washington campaign, said, “No matter what, we are in this for the long haul. The climate isn’t going to wait.”
Check our live updates for the latest election coverage and reaction, and see our results page for complete election returns.