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Utah carbon tax initiative won't get enough signatures to get on the ballot, sponsor says

Downtown inversion
Posted at 8:08 PM, Aug 01, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A citizen ballot initiative to impose a carbon tax to pay for air quality improvements, rural economic development and eliminate the sales tax on food is unlikely to make the 2024 ballot, its sponsors confirmed to FOX 13 News.

"Clean the Darn Air" had been in the midst of a volunteer effort to collect more than 134,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. But supporters said they were falling short.

"We have gathered about 20,000 valid signatures so far, which is no small feat for an all-volunteer campaign. Unfortunately we still need over 100,000 more to make the ballot, and we don’t see a path to get there, so we are shifting our focus to learning from this experience and laying the groundwork for a future effort," Yoram Bauman, one of the group's leaders, said in a text to FOX 13 News on Tuesday. "We invite Utahns from across the political spectrum to join us at to fight for pocketbook-friendly approaches to clean air and climate action."

The initiative sought to implement a 10 cents per gallon tax on gasoline purchases and a penny per kilowatt for electricity. By going after large-scale polluters as well, the money generated from it would have been put into efforts to clean up Utah's air quality, but also boost rural Utah's economic development situation and remove the state portion of the sales tax on food.

Clean the Darn Air filed the citizen ballot initiative last year and had been trying to convince voters across the state to get behind their effort. It previously tried a similar measure in 2020 that was unsuccessful.

The Utah State Legislature has historically opposed bills introduced that have sought to impose a carbon tax.