Politicians, in general, aren’t known for their fiscal restraint. But what is it about electric cars that makes so many public officials take to new heights their penchants for meddling in the marketplace and spending other people’s money?
Nevada, of course, offered generous tax incentives to lure Tesla and the-now-belly-up Faraday to the state. Other states and the federal government provide subsidies to encourage consumers to buy plug-in vehicles. To be in the electric car business today is to be showered with corporate welfare in the name of promoting a hip, green agenda.
Now the Wall Street Journal reports that California is considering a proposal that would set aside $3 billion to help consumers offset the cost of purchasing electric cars.
Despite years of hectoring from California elites about the dangers of internal combustion engine emissions, only 2.7 percent of the vehicles sold in the Golden State during this year’s first quarter were plug-ins. Rather than let the market operate, however, California officials now want to engage in a massive wealth-transfer scheme designed to entice more residents to go electric.
“Critics say the program would be a giveaway to an industry that has struggled to survive without government funding,” the Journal reports.
Meanwhile, California lawmakers in April approved a gasoline tax hike expected to raise $5.2 billion a year for road and bridge repair. It’s worth noting that while the drivers of all those new electric cars are cashing their subsidy checks, they won’t be paying a dime toward the gas tax fund earmarked for transportation infrastructure improvements.
But who can ever follow that little red ball during a street-corner shell game?