In Pre-Emptive Strike Against Cap and Trade Legislation, GOP Senator Proposes Ballot Initiative That Would Cut Gas Tax

Brian Boquist wants to offset energy cost increases embedded in Democrats priority environmental bill.

Sen. Brian Boquist. (Courtesy of his office)

House Bill 2020, the so-called "cap and trade" bill that Democrats are pushing to address climate change, is nearing passage this week in the Oregon Legislature. But state Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) today filed a ballot initiative that proposes reducing the the state's gas tax from 34 cents to 18 cents.

Ballot Initiative 30, which Boquist is called the "New Green Deal Gas Tax Cut" initiative, is aimed as offsetting the increase in energy costs that would accompany House Bill 2020.

That bill—the result of 12 years of Democratic efforts to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions—is complex and still undergoing furious negotiations. But the underlying concept is simple: If Oregon makes fossil-fuel based energy more expensive, people will use less of it and produce fewer emissions.

Boquist's initiative would undercut that environmental incentive to reduce fossil-fuel use.

Boquist must now gather 1,000 sponsorship signatures to begin the process of drafting a ballot title. Should he meet that hurdle and receive a title, he would need to gather 112,020 signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.