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PNS Daily Newscast - December 10, 2018 


Nick Ayers is said to reject Trump’s offer to be White House chief of staff. Also on the Monday rundown: Help still needed in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael; and look for a domestic workers' bill of rights to be introduced in Congress next year.

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In the Market for an Electric Car? Time Running Out on Wash. Tax Break

The Washington state Legislature set a cap of 7,500 cars in an incentive program that provides tax breaks to electric-vehicle purchasers. (desteniev/Twenty20)
The Washington state Legislature set a cap of 7,500 cars in an incentive program that provides tax breaks to electric-vehicle purchasers. (desteniev/Twenty20)
May 23, 2018

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washingtonians in the market for an electric car are running out of time to capitalize on a tax-break incentive for those vehicles.

The state's program exempts local and state taxes on the first $32,000 of a new electric-vehicle purchase and will end on May 31. In March, the Evergreen State reached its legislative cap for the exemption of 7,500 car sales, more than a year before the program was to sunset in June 2019.

During this year's legislative session, organizations such as the Association of Washington Business backed an extension of the program. Mike Ennis, the AWB's government affairs director, said supporters pointed out in public testimonies that ending the incentive in other states has hurt electric sales.

"They did see significant reduction on the purchase of electric vehicles," he said. "It's hard to point to the incentive program as being the only reason for the dip, but I think it's definitely part of it."

The exemption is in place for any alternative-fuel vehicle with a base-model retail price of $42,500 or less that can be delivered before June 1. A price cap was included on the tax break to prevent people from getting a discount on luxury cars.

Although it failed this year, Ennis said he believes lawmakers will discuss a tax-break program for alternative-fuel cars again in next year's legislative session. He said the AWB wants the state to reduce carbon emissions to fight climate change and supports incentivizing behavior to achieve this goal.

"When you're talking about reducing emissions in the transportation sector," he said, "we prefer the carrot approach or the incentive approach, rather than a mandate or a stick."

The AWB opposes programs such as carbon taxes. An initiative to charge a fee on carbon pollution currently is gaining signatures to appear on the November ballot. The fee would start at $15 per ton in 2020. It's received the backing of environmental groups, tribes and Gov. Jay Inslee.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA