In the recent midterm election, Washington voters rejected carbon-fee Initiative 1631 (44-56) and rejected local food and beverage taxes by endorsing Initiative 1634 (56-44). The results echo the 2016 election, when voters rejected the I-732 carbon tax and voter support in 2010 of I-1107, which repealed food and beverage taxes imposed by the Legislature that year.
After an election, pundits and policymakers often try to figure out why voters acted as they did. Sometimes it’s easy. Often, it’s more challenging. And, as we’ve seen with these two tax and fee measures, their advocates try to draw a lesson what will allow them to try again with more success. Putting a price on carbon or taxing “unhealthy” food and beverages are ideas that persist across the country, as well as here in Washington.
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