Goodell: Rebate for used EVs gives to rich, takes from poor

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, speaks in opposition to extending a NYSERDA tax credit for electric vehicles to used vehicles. Currently the state’s program applies only to new electric vehicles.

Legislation on its way to the state Senate for consideration will create a tax rebate for those buying used electric vehicles.

A.5769 passed the state Assembly recently by a 106-39 vote with Assemblymen Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voting no. Goodell joined several RepWublicans speaking out against the program. For Goodell, the tax rebate program is a reverse Robin Hood – taking money from the poor in the form of utility surcharges to give to those who can afford the $27,800 average price of a used electric vehicle.

The rebates are funded through money generated by a surcharge on electric bills.

“You know in our quest to promote EVs we’re adopting a very interesting program as it relates to our overall concept of helping the poor at the expense of the rich,” Goodell said. “This bill does the opposite. This bill uses utility surcharges that the poor in our state pay in order to give a rebate to people who have enough income to buy an expensive EV. Think about that. Everyone in New York City who relies on mass transit who doesn’t own a car gets to pay higher utility rates so that those who are wealthy enough to buy an EV can sell it and get a rebate at their expense. Your senior citizens, those on fixed incomes, everyone who’s financially stressed, especially in this time of inflation, gets to pay higher utility rates to provide a $2,000 rebate to a person who can buy an EV that’s substantially more expensive than a used gas car.”

New York already offers a tax rebate through the New York State Energy Research and Development Association. for those who purchase new electric vehicles, with the full $2,000 rebate applied to vehicles with a range of over 200 miles and a $1,000 rebate for electric vehicles with less range than 200 miles. In addition to the state tax credit program, there are also federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for new electric vehicle purchases and $4,000 for used electric vehicle purchases. New in 2024, consumers can also opt to transfer the credit to an eligible dealer instead for an immediate discount on the vehicle at the point of sale rather than waiting until the next year to receive the tax credit – a feature not available in New York’s program.

“That’s out of the reach of most lower class or even middle income families,” Goodell said while referencing the $27,800 average cost for a used electric vehicle. “Now you might say, well this will help a lower income or middle income family buy an EV because it will drop the average price from $27,000 to $25,000.. Here’s the problem. They don’t get the money when they buy the car. They get to apply. And as the bill sponsor noted, we don’t even know if there’s enough money to pay them. It’s first-come, first-serve and they’re competing against institutions and commercial establishments.”

The bill passed with overwhelming support of Democrats in the Assembly. There was little spoken support for the bill outside of Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Hudson and sponsor of the legislation, who debated several Republicans. She was supported by Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove, who spoke in favor of A.5769.

“The express purpose of this bill is to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and promote the adoption of quieter zero emission vehicles,” Lavine said before referencing Republicans’ opposition to the bill. “Now April was the hottest month in history. The last 11 months have been the hottest in our history. I guess it’s pretty obvious us humans play a role in that and I hope it’s obvious to everyone, but I’m not so sure.”


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