As a third-generation auto dealer based out of Richmond, Ky., I learned a long time ago that the very best time to stand up against anti-small-business legislation is yesterday.
Once a business-killing policy gains traction in Washington, it may be too late to inject any common sense into the discourse. That's why, as the Senate moves to tie electric vehicle incentives to vehicles built in unionized U.S. plants, I feel compelled to explain why this is bad news for American workers, American consumers and our environment.
The Senate Finance Committee recently approved language in the Clean Energy for America Act to raise EV incentives from $7,500 to $12,500 — a huge increase with an even bigger catch: Consumers are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit if they buy an EV, an additional $2,500 if the vehicle is assembled in the U.S. and another $2,500 if it is assembled in a plant whose work force is represented by a union.
This is strange language for a bill ostensibly meant to stimulate clean energy use in the U.S. It's not promoting the purchase of EVs, but instead promoting the purchase of a certain type of EV. In fact, it's a blatantly transactional move by Senate Democrats to benefit one of their biggest financial backers, the UAW, at the expense of American businesses such as mine that sell nonunion-built EVs. Of course, the folks who really get hosed in this plan are the American taxpayers, who are not only funding the entire scheme, but they now have the government dictating which vehicles they can afford to buy.
I sell both international- and domestic-brand vehicles. Most of both types are assembled right here in the U.S. by American workers. So why should my employee at a Toyota store see her sales drop because taxpayers are helping fund purchases at my Ford store? This bill, as written, is un-American, illogical and defeats the whole purpose of using tax credits to fight climate change.