North Dakota Defeats Detroit-Only Tax Break

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
north dakota defeats detroit only tax break

North Dakota’s House of Representatives has voted down a measure which would have exempted the sale or lease of a Detroit-branded vehicle from the state’s five percent excise sales tax. The Chicago Tribune reports that the measure, which would have cost the state $25.9m, was defeated by a convincing 64-29 vote. “If we do anything as far as tax exemptions, we should have a greater good in mind,” says Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby. “The passage of this bill . . . we don’t expect anything from (the Detroit auto companies), except that they’re going to sell more of the same old, same old. . . . Every technology in the world has grown, doubled or tripled or quadrupled, in the last 20 years, but the pickup I drive gets the same mileage as one 30 years ago,” he said. “Things like that . . . they haven’t progressed, and that is the reason that U.S. auto makers are in . . . the shape they’re in.”

Proving that Detroit doesn’t have a monopoly on poor decision making skills and regressive tendencies, Nelson went on to argue that the Detroit-only tax break should be used to encourage purchases of hybrids or “flex-fuel” vehicles. A flex-fuel tax break, notes Nelson, would help to promote North Dakota’s ethanol industry. Ironically, Detroit firms have a near-monopoly on flex-fuel vehicles, a strategy that many argue has distracted them from achieving the very efficiency gains Nelson longs for. Other lawmakers cited the struggles of import-brand car dealers, the foreign production of many Detroit-brand vehicles and general fiscal responsibility in opposing the measure.

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  • 50merc 50merc on Feb 03, 2009

    kazoomaloo: "Just another case of a small-time state legislator getting in over his/her head and proposing some dumbass stuff." You're right, except it has nothing to do with the size of the state. They all do silly things. For years I worked around politicians, and I got to saying "The more you know 'em, the less you like 'em."

  • TEW TEW on Feb 03, 2009

    I have family that farms in Kansas and they would be out of work without their big trucks. They pull cattle, drive in the fields, and haul grains in the bed. They are the kind of people who need a large pickup truck the rest of us should not even get one if we are concerned about pollution. As for the gas mileage not improving in 30 years, the payload has been the one improving. They can take cattle further in their truck so instead of having an 18 wheeler they just use a 3500. That is a lot greener.

  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Feb 03, 2009

    "Just another case of a small-time state legislator getting in over his/her head and proposing some dumbass stuff." Speaking of which, some dufus in the Washington leg. has introduced SB 6900, which adds an "engine displacement and CO2 emissions" fee to the vehicle license tabs upon renewal. The fee has a varied amount depending on the size of the vehicle's engine: Engine Size (liters) Rate Schedule Up to 1.9 $0 2.0 - 2.9 $70 3.0 - 3.9 $225 4.0 - 4.9 $275 5.0 - 5.9 $325 6.0 - 7.9 $400 8.0 or over $600 ____________________ Talk about kicking our state's taxpayers and the economy in the ass, in the name of reducing carbon dioxide emissions... This steaming pile is the stupidest piece of legislation I've heard of in a long time. Carbon dioxide is the main product of combustion. You can decrease its emissions only by decreasing economic output, or by ceasing to exhale.

  • MMH MMH on Feb 03, 2009

    So if they make a good decision (vote down protectionist tax breaks), but don't say all the right stuff about making it (poorly thought-out analogy), does that make it a bad decision? When politicos and execs are quoted here as saying the 'right thngs,' they're pretty regularly - and rightly so in most cases - lambasted for doublespeak. Maybe the ND rep felt like he needed to greenwash the vote. Lots of griping for the sake of griping, methinks.