Carbon initiative aims to raise and cut taxes

Voters may have a chance to lower some taxes and protect the environment.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Supporters of Initiative 732 are confident they have enough signatures to force lawmakers or perhaps voters to go after carbon polluters.

I-732 backers dropped off the final batch of signatures at the Secretary of State's Olympia office on Wednesday.

The initiative would create a new tax for carbon polluters while cutting the state's sales tax, reducing taxes on manufacturers and creating a tax credit for low-income families.

"I think everyone agrees it's a smart way forward to address climate change. That's going to benefit us and our economy and our children and grandchildren," said Yoram Bauman, founder of Carbon Washington, the organization behind the initiative.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, considers the initiative an energy tax instead of a carbon tax.

Ericksen chairs the Senate's energy committee.

He said the move would cause higher home heating bills and gas prices.

Bauman said the initiative could end up raising gas prices 25 cents a gallon.

Ericksen also thinks the initiative could end up hurting the environment by encouraging Washington businesses to relocate overseas in search of less restrictive pollution laws.

If supporters gathered enough valid signatures, lawmakers would be forced to either pass the initiative, let voters decide on the November 2016 ballot or pass an alternative version. In that case, both the alternative and the original would be sent to voters.


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