State lawmakers on the Taxation Committee today heard testimony on LD 361, An Act to Promote Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales, sponsored by Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Penobscot).
Despite the Democrats’ protests against so-called “tax cuts for the rich” and their demands that wealthy Mainers pay their fair share, the bill would provide substantial tax benefits only to individuals capable of purchasing new electric plug-in vehicles—cars which typically retail for more than $35,000.
Gratwick said his bill could very possibly be a tax cut for the rich. “It goes without saying that only people who can afford to buy plug-in electric vehicles will benefit,” he said.
In addition to the $7,500 tax subsidy the federal government currently provides, Gratwick is seeking to provide another $1,000 courtesy of Maine taxpayers. He said he sponsored the bill on behalf of a constituent who is also a lobbyist.
While Gratwick could not recall the name of the lobbyist whose legislation he submitted, a review of lobbyist registrations indicates that it was probably James Mitchell of Mitchell-Tardy Government Affairs whose clients include General Motors. Mitchell testified at today’s committee meeting and has worked on previous version of the plug-in vehicle tax credit. It is unclear whether Mitchell is actually Gratwick’s constituent.
“Republicans support tax cuts,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). “But we oppose market-distorting handouts to the green energy industry that benefit only those who need the money the least.”
Since 2008 American taxpayers have spent, directly or through loan guarantees, $6.5 billion on electric vehicles.