(TNS) — A new Colorado Senate bill looks to cut short a tax credit program for alternative fuel vehicles and shift the $50.4 million that would have been spent on tax credits into the state's highway fund.
Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, passed the Senate Finance Committee 4-1 on Tuesday, and is now referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
The bill has been widely publicized as targeting electric vehicles, but it actually repeals a law allowing tax credits for a range of alternative fuel vehicles, including compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, hydrogen, hydraulic hybrid trucks, trucks with idling reduction technologies or aerodynamic improvements and for clean fuel refrigerated trailers.
Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, is the House sponsor for the bill. She said electric vehicles are much heavier than conventional cars, and they harm Colorado's roads more while not paying a gas tax.
The credits, in existence since 1993, were set to expire in 2021. Marble's bill would move that expiration date up three years, as it would be effective in August.
Senate Republicans in a Tuesday news release said the bill would "pull the plug on green welfare," saying the tax credits benefit primarily wealthy people along the Front Range.
Marble couldn't be reached for comment, but she was quoted in the Senate Republicans' news release.
"Most of those who benefit from this $5,000-per-vehicle credit are concentrated in just six relatively wealthy counties along the Front Range, while motorists in the remaining 58 counties, the vast majority of whom drive conventional vehicles, see no benefit at all and actually lose out due to the reduction in overall revenue the state collects," Marble said in the release.
Numerous Weld County school districts, as well as the county itself, use compressed natural gas buses and other vehicles. As government entities, they wouldn't be impacted by the bill.
The bill doesn't impact the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicle purchases.
A similar bill failed last year.
©2018 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.