RICHMOND – With signs, cardboard wind turbines and a parade of Priuses, hybrid car owners sent a message to legislators at the Capitol this afternoon: No hybrid tax.
The demonstration by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network was in protest of proposals this legislative session to tax hybrid car owners and repeal renewable energy incentives for electric utility companies.
The network’s state director, Beth Kemler, called the measures an “assault on climate solutions.”
“We should be rewarding people for doing their part to solve the climate crisis and end pollution,” Kemler said, amid a cacophony of car horns and protest chants. “We shouldn’t be punishing them.”
Part of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan includes taxing owners of alternative fuel vehicles, such as hybrids, $100 a year. The idea is to make up for those drivers still using the roads, but contributing less in fuel taxes to maintain and build them, the governor’s office has said.
The other proposal, by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, would no longer provide financial incentives for electric utility companies, such as Virginia Dominion Power, that use renewable energy sources. Cuccinelli’s office has said the “adders” have raised consumers’ bills without having the intended environmental impact.
But groups such as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network argue the program should be changed, not repealed altogether. They’ve suggested making it mandatory for electric utility companies to obtain a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources, such as wind turbines or solar panels. Others have also proposed requiring that at least a portion of that renewable energy come from in-state sources.
- Kathy Adams, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot