For the “wow, about time” files: the tax write-off for Hummers might be a thing of yesteryear, if one legislator gets his way.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced legislation to remove the $25,000-or-so tax break that people who drive massive SUVs and Hummers have been getting for years. The break was intended to help farmers, ranchers, and other people who might actually (possibly) have a concrete need for the beasts, but instead it’s been helping
planet-haters conspicuous consumers average business folks who just want to drive tanks around town.
See, there used to be a tax break for businesspeople who bought any sort of car. Then in 1984, Congress changed the law to eliminate the breaks on vehicles that weighed less than 6,000 pounds, so that rich people couldn’t go using it for a sweet deal on a luxury car. But then Hummers and Escalades and other massive SUVs became the “in” thing, and buying one gave folks a $25k write off that made the gas-guzzlers seem like a sweet deal.
Blumenauer is a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and last week he slipped the legislation in an energy bill that the Ways and Means Committee submitted to the rest of the House this week.
“We shouldn’t be giving a tax break to expensive vehicles that get eight miles to the gallon,” Blumenauer told The Oregonian. “Environmentally, it’s the right thing to do in terms of making the tax code work for us rather than against us.”
This isn’t the first time that legislation closing the loophole has gone before the House and been vigorously protested by the auto industry. But the hope is that as the monetary, social, environmental, and political costs of oil grow ever-more obvious, it’ll make it through this time.
“When people stop to think about it and reflect on what sort of tax break this represents, we’re finding that people generally agree that it needs to be fixed,” said Blumenauer. “It was a mistake in the first place.”