Electric vehicles receive a boost

An electric-vehicle tax-break proposal cleared one hurdle last week, and one of its sponsors believes the time is right for such legislation.

Citing her visit to the 1964 World’s Fair Carousel of Progress when she was a child, Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, (D-38), of Paramus, stood firm on the Assembly floor when questioned about electric-vehicle legislation last week by  Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon (R-12), of Little Silver.

Inspired by that trip to the world’s fair, she passionately assured lawmakers that she was confident that Gov. Chris Christie would budget for A3651, which would provide for a three-year tax credit program for the purchase of certain electric vehicles or electric hybrids.

The bill, which would establish corporate business tax credits and gross income tax credits for such purchases, was approved in the Assembly 46-18-13 and moves on to the Senate where it was referred to the Environment and Energy Committee.

While Wagner awaits the bill’s fate, the mood among Democrats in Washington, D.C., is decidedly anti-Big Oil.

President Obama, in his State of the Union address last month, pushed for increased research into clean energy and reduced subsidies for the oil companies.

And congressional Democrats earlier this month introduced  the “Ending Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act” that would eliminate 10 subsidies and tax breaks currently offered to oil companies, saving the government an estimated $40 billion over the next five years.

In light of such action, the move toward electric or hybrid vehicles is the kind of Carousel of Progress Wagner would like to see more of in the Garden State.

In an interview Monday, Wagner said that now more than ever she wants to see such a law pass and have electrical vehicles  become part of the American backdrop.

“When I see what is happening in the world today with Egypt, Libya and countries in the Middle East, I am determined we need to get on the fast track with wind, solar, and upgrading our electric grids,” she said, adding America’s fuel dependence on foreign countries must cease.

Wagner sees the proposal as an opportunity for a private and public sector partnership that could give a boost to the economy.

If more municipalities use hybrid vehicles as gasoline prices hover above $3 a gallon, taxpayers could see huge savings, she believes.

Wagner, who drives an EV herself, sees a future where a family’s second car will be hybrid.  “I think it is the right time now, and love to think what it will be like ten years down the road.

“If they can do all they do with computers, phones and IPods, imagine what they can do in this industry.”  

Other bill sponsors in the Assembly include Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-31), of Englewood, Dan Benson and Wayne DeAngelo, (D-14) of Hamilton, Kevin Ryan, (D-36) of Nutley, Gilbert Wilson, (D-5), of Audubon, and Upendra Chivukula, (D-17), of Somerset.

Electric vehicles receive a boost