Carbon-tax initiative fails but grocery-tax ban passes

SEATTLE – King County released another batch of election results Wednesday afternoon and the Associated Press projected results for two initiatives.

I-1631, which would’ve implemented a first-in-the-nation carbon tax in Washington, was defeated, the AP projected.

Had it passed, I-1631 would have charged about 100 of the state's biggest polluters for every metric ton of carbon emissions.

Oil refineries, natural gas power plants and fuel distributors would have paid the tax, raising almost $1 billion a year for projects aimed at cutting pollution and protecting the environment.

The initiative, backed by social justice, tribal and environmental groups, quickly became one of the costliest elections in state history.

The "No on 1631" campaign, bankrolled mostly of oil companies, raised more than $30 million to defeat the measure. BP America was the top donor as of Oct. 29, at $11.6 million.

Supporters of the carbon fee raised more than $15 million by Oct. 29. They argued that polluters who release carbon emissions responsible for global warming should pay to address its impacts. Washington is seeing rising sea levels, more intense and frequent wildfires and floods and shrinking glaciers.

Opponents said the burden would have fallen to consumers in higher energy costs, while also providing too many exemptions to be effective.

Local governments can no longer impose new soda taxes after voters in Washington approved a ballot measure that took aim at taxes on sugary beverages.

I-1634 bans cities and counties from imposing their own sugary beverage taxes, like the one that Seattle passed and took effect this year.

It does not stop the state from imposing a statewide soda tax, and Seattle's soda tax will not be impacted.

Supporters of the initiative argue that it will stop local governments from raising your grocery bills. The campaign in support of I-1634 was largely funded by Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Inc., Keurig Dr. Pepper, and Red Bull North America.

Opponents who campaigned against the measure said sugary beverage taxes are a much needed-tool to improve public health and deter people from buying them. They also said local governments should have control over what they decide to tax.

There is concern on both sides that the tax hurts poor people the most.

Seattle's controversial tax on sweetened beverages is expected to raise over $20 million this year, roughly $5 million more than initial estimates. A portion of that money is used to fund healthy food and education programs.