Earlier this year, we told you about Georgia House Bill 122, the latest in a long line of attempts by certain Georgia politicians designed to end the state’s generous electric car incentives. Introduced by Georgian Representative Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), the bill proposed that Georgia end its generous $5,000 electric car tax credit on July 1 this year, ending Georgia’s place among one of the most electric-car friendly states in the U.S.
Last week, HB 122 was voted down by the house Ways & Means Committee, but as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Via GreenCarReports) detailed last night, the bill mysteriously reappeared yesterday in the house, a week after it was deemed to have been tabled by the aforementioned committee.
More distressingly, shortly after being inexplicably un-tabled the bill was unanimously passed by voice vote in the house, with not a single Democratic Representative present.
According to a spokesperson who spoke with the AJC, when a bill fails to be given a ‘do pass’ recommendation in subcommittee, it is treated the same as if it had been tabled. And that means that in this case, HB was allowed to be voted on twice by the panel.
While things may now seem somewhat dour for plug-in advocates in the state of Georgia, all hope is not lost.
As we’ve previously mentioned, a separate bill making its way through the Georgia house (HB 220) would also make changes to existing electric vehicle tax credits in the state. Instead of eliminating the credit altogether however, HB 220 — proposed by Representative Ben Harbin( R-Evans) — would lower the overall tax credit available to buyers of 100% electric vehicles from $5,000 to just $3,000.
More importantly however, it would add plug-in hybrids and range-extended electric cars to Georgia’s plug-in incentive program for the first time, offering $2,000 for any plug-in hybrid with a battery capacity between 4- and 10 kilowatt-hours and $3,000 for any vehicle with a battery pack larger than 10 kilowatt-hours. It would also continue the current $2,500 tax credit available for other low-emission vehicles, but removes Flex Fuel vehicles from the state eligibility list.
Then, in 2018 and 2019, the tax credits would fall to $1,000 and $2,000, according to the vehicle’s battery pack size.
According to our friends at GreenCarReports, who have spoken to a Georgia political insider directly, Harbin’s bill is far more popular among house members than Martin’s bill, describing it as having “momentum” in the house.
The source also reminded GreenCarReports that the president of the Georgia State Senate, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, drives a Nissan LEAF.
Regardless of the fate of HB 122 and HB 220 however, there’s one thing we can draw from the goings on in the Georgia House right now.
If you’re in Georgia, and you want to buy a plug-in car, it’s best to act sooner rather than later. Even if incentives aren’t going away completely, we think it’s highly likely they’ll be reduced to a lower level in the very near future.
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