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Washington state voters reject carbon tax initiative

Voters in Tuesday returns rejected I-1631, the proposed carbon fee initiative, which would have raised more than $1 billion annually by 2023, with spending decisions to be made by a governor-appointed board as well as the state’s utilities.

Washington state voters on Tuesday rejected Initiative 1631, a proposed carbon fee on fossil-fuel emissions that spurred the biggest ballot-measure spending spree in state history.

As of Tuesday evening, with more than 1.9 million votes tallied from all 39 counties, 56.3 percent of the voters opposed the initiative, while 43.7 percent supported the measure. There are many more votes to be counted but the lead was unlikely to be overtaken.

Proponents, however, said that the battle to put a price on Washington’s fossil fuel emissions is not over. They already are thinking ahead to getting a bill passed next year in Olympia “where we know we have legislative champions who are prepared to keep pushing on this issue,” said Mike Stevens, state director of the Nature Conservancy, a major backer of I-1631.