Colorado Springs Gazette: Lamborn adopts car dealer's call to buy American
by PAM ZUBECK
November 21, 2008 - 3:10PM
Taking his cue from a Colorado Springs auto dealership executive, Rep. Doug Lamborn is proposing giving consumers incentives to buy American instead of giving Detroit's Big Three automakers a bailout to stave off bankruptcy.
"Automakers aren't selling cars," the Republican lawmaker said Thursday in a statement. " Instead of writing them a check, my bill could help them move inventory."
Small businesses would be able to write off a higher amount of capital investment in vehicles and consumers would get a tax break for buying certain new vehicles under a bill proposed by Lamborn this week.
Lamborn's bill, introduced Thursday, would give consumers a tax deduction of $10,000 when they buy a new vehicle in which the assembly is finished at a U.S. plant. The deduction would be given in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
"The backbone of the entire economy is the consumer and therefore the real answer," Jay Cimino, CEO of Phil Long automotive group, wrote in a Nov. 14 letter to Lamborn.
"Rather than bailing out the manufacturers, I believe incentives can and should be given for buying American cars and trucks that result in increasing American car and truck sales ...," he said.
Cimino said it used to be "cool" to drive an American made car, but no longer. He noted President-elect Barack Obama drives a Ford Escape. "This is a start for American manufacturing," he wrote, noting Republican challenger John McCain drives a Toyota SUV.
Environment Colorado, a nonprofit advocating for clean water, clean air and open space in Colorado, took issue with Lamborn's proposal.
"Environment Colorado agrees its time to help the American auto industry and that it can be the cornerstone of revitalizing the economy," said Keith Hay, the group’s advocate on energy issues.
"But the proposal from Rep. Lamborn fails to live up to what taxpayers should expect from any bailout of the auto industry," he said. "If we’re going to invest taxpayer money, it should be an investment in good jobs and climate and energy security. This bill does not do that."
The bill has drawn two co-sponsors: Republicans Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas.
Americans for Tax Reform also supports the bill. The group’s president Grover Norquist said in a letter that Lamborn’s bill "moves the conversation away from bailing out a few unionized auto companies which failed to negotiate aggressively with the UAW, and toward a pro-taxpayer, free market solution."
Lamborn’s spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said if Congress returns in December, Lamborn will try to get more co-sponsors and seek a committee assignment for the bill. If time runs out this year, he plans to reintroduce the bill in January, she said.
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THOMAS link to H.R. 7298