WASHINGTON -- Oldsmobile dealers have their best chance in three years to get a tax break on the money General Motors is paying to eliminate their franchises.
The tax break is tailored specifically for the dealers. Lawmakers have added it to broader trade legislation that many observers say Congress must pass this year.
Still, "this is not going to be easy," says Rob Braziel, a lobbyist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. NADA has advocated the Oldsmobile tax break since 2001.
The Oldsmobile provision is in the version of the broader bill that the Senate approved but not in the House-passed version. Lawmakers from the two chambers soon will negotiate a final bill. Scores of tax provisions that would benefit many interest groups will be on the table.
Even though the cost of the Oldsmobile tax break is comparatively small, the provision is conspicuous. When critics of the overall bill complain about giveaways to businesses, they often cite the Oldsmobile measure as one of the worst examples.
That's unfair, says George Nahas, chairman of the Oldsmobile dealer council. Nahas owns an Oldsmobile dealership in Tavares, Fla.