The 2015 Georgia General Assembly 40 day session is over. What happened? What happens now?
As expected both chambers passed HB 170 Transportation Bill which included the repeal of the $5,000 ZEV and $2,500 LEV tax credits effective July 1, 2015 and added the $200/year/EV road use fee while the legislators raised the gasoline tax to fund Georgia’s aging road infrastructure. Don Francis, Executive Director CleanCitiesGeorgia published data showing that a 3,500 lb EV would pay the same road use fee as a one and half ton SUV getting 9 miles per gallon in gasoline tax. As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on March 27, 2015, Rep. Jay Roberts, author of the HB 170 Transportation bill admitted in a committee meeting on March 12th that he made up the EV road use fee!
Hundreds of Constituent phone calls, emails, signed petitions, and in-person meetings with legislators to address the unfair road use fee fell on deaf ears. They needed over $900 million and the EV tax credit and road use fee was easy pickings and the few EV lobbyist could not get legislators to see the unfairness of their legislation. Georgia Legislators simply did not care.
So now the bill goes to Governor Nathan Deal for signature, which he clearly intends to do. Deal, as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on April 5, 2015, played a decisive role behind all of the legistation that mattered to him; the Transportation Bill being one of them. The AJC reported that Deal’s lobbyists got $45 million worth of tax breaks pushed through in the final hours of the session.
Another winner? Mercedes Benz USA. Deal got MBUSA employees sales tax free leases! The measure was approved at 12:04 AM, past the official closing time of the 2015 legislative session. WOW! a $1.3 million tax break can get pushed through with nary a debate and after the close of the session!
Georgia On My Mind! EV Owners held a Rally at the State Capitol on April 2nd and have vowed to fight the Road Use Fee and pledge to be back with a new Tax Credit for the 2016 Legislative Session.
Looks like this isn’t over just yet!