Energy

Environmentalists Try For A THIRD Time To Foist A Carbon Tax On Washington State

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

A coalition of liberal groups filed a ballot proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions in the wake of similar legislation failing to get enough votes in Washington’s state legislature.

Activists will try for a third time to impose a carbon tax in Washington, The Associated Press reported. Groups will need about 260,000 signatures from voters to a carbon tax on the November ballot.

“Washington voters, communities, and businesses are demanding strong and effective action on climate pollution and today’s filing starts the process for the people of Washington to act,” the pro-carbon tax coalition said in a statement issued March 2.

The ballot proposal was filed one day after state lawmakers failed to pass carbon tax legislation.

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, both Democrats, admitted in early March they didn’t have the votes to pass a carbon tax. Inslee’s plan would have taxed emissions at $12 a ton, increasing $2 a year above inflation.

The bill was projected to raise $766 million, which would be spent on green energy programs, forest management and other programs. Some of the funds would have been used to offset higher energy costs for poor families.

However, carbon tax opponents argued there were many flaws with Inslee’s plan, including the myriad of exemptions granted to politically favored industries.

The carbon tax bill would have exempted dozens of industries, from jet fuel to mayonnaise makers, from having to pay higher prices, according to Todd Myers of the free market Washington Policy Center.

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In the end, Democrats couldn’t muster the votes to bring Inslee’s carbon tax plan to the floor. In response, the coalition — made up of environmentalists, labor unions, Native Americans and others — filed a ballot measure proposal.

This time, activists think they have a greater chance of getting a carbon tax enacted. Some of the interest groups opposed to the 2016 carbon tax ballot measure support the new proposal.

“This initiative has a price mechanism but also takes the majority of the fees collected and invests it in driving carbon pollution down,” Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson told the AP.

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