Denver officials advance carbon tax measure as skeptics emerge, including Mayor Hancock

A Denver City Council committee sent a tax on fossil-fuel-powered electricity and natural gas to a vote of the full city legislature Tuesday, but the pollution levy still lacks a key supporter.

Seven members, led by Council President Jolon Clark, want to ask voters for a tax on commercial and industrial energy users — apartment buildings, office buildings, factories, even college campuses — in November. It would raise about $43 million annually to ignite programs and policies that curb greenhouse gases and transition Denver to a greener economy.

The governance committee voted 4 to 3 to put the measure to a vote of the full city legislature. Council members Candi CdeBaca, Chris Hinds, Stacie Gilmore, and Clark voted to advance the bill. Council members Kendra Back, Robin Kniech and Debbie Ortega voted against.

With seven co-sponsors, the tax measure has enough votes to pass, but it doesn’t have support from Mayor Michael Hancock, who has the power to kill it with a veto. His office would not say whether he would kill the measure or not, should it pass.