May 26, 2005

Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today voted to start the process of establishing tax incentives for the purchase of automobiles that have low emission rates of greenhouse gasses. The bill will create a committee with members from the state Department of Environmental Protection, automobile industry members, and public health advocates to develop a plan for reducing the sales tax on low-emission vehicles by up to 3%. The group will look into the viability of these incentives and present its recommendations to the General Assembly.

“This legislation is an important step forward in our ongoing effort to reduce greenhouse gasses at the most prevalent source in the state – automobile exhaust,” said Senator McKinney. “This group will do the important work of determining whether we can establish incentives to put more hybrid cars and low emission vehicles on our roads without hurting small businesses and contractors that might depend on the big ‘gas guzzlers’ to get their work done.”

As former Ranking Member on the General Assembly’s Environment Committee, Senator McKinney has long advocated establishing stricter standards for auto emissions in Connecticut. Last year the General Assembly passed legislation he co-sponsored that began the process of bringing Connecticut’s clean air standards in line with California’s, the strictest in the nation.
“This bill will further the goals of the legislation we passed last year and make our state a nationwide leader in the effort to put cleaner cars on the road and make our air safer to breath,” said Senator McKinney. “Unfortunately for Connecticut, much of our air pollution comes from sources out of the state, but if we reduce emissions from the automobiles on our own roads we will have made a big step towards taking care of our responsibility to clean up the air here at home.”