Williamstown warrant article provides excise tax rebate for high mileage vehicles
NOTE TO READERS -- The information below was compiled by the Williamstown COOL (CO2 Lowering) Committee: Irene Addision, Jane Allen, Hank Art, Lisa Gordon, Tim Kaiser, Betsy Kolbert, KC Manuel, Ashley Martinez, Pat McLeod, Nancy Nylen, Wendy Penner, & Mike Tillou.
The Williamstown Board of Selectmen has recommended for approval a warrant article that would provide excise tax grants to owners of fuel-efficient vehicles. To clear up confusion about what the article would-and would not-do, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
1. Would the grants only go to owners of hybrid vehicles? I've heard that many hybrid cars don't get good gas mileage!
No. The Selectmen have rewritten the original warrant to include all fuel efficient vehicles manufactured in the past five years that have an EPA rating of greater than 30/35 miles per gallon (city/highway). This includes some, but not all, hybrids and many conventional cars that get good gas mileage. Among the cars that would be eligible for a rebate are some models of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Echo, Toyota Scion, Hyundai Accent, as well as the Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius.
2. Isn't this just subsidizing people who already have the money to buy expensive cars?
No. Several of the eligible vehicles are actually among the least expensive new cars on the market, including the Honda Civic and Kia Rio. Also, the grants are not just for new cars —but also used cars manufactured in the last 5 years (2003 and newer).
3. What good would the rebate do?
The Town of Williamstown is taking a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced in town and by our residents. Approximately 20 percent of our emissions are from the vehicles we drive. This warrant article encourages residents to reduce our emissions by purchasing energy efficient vehicles.
4. How much money will this cost the town?
A maximum of $10,000, which is just over 1 percent of the amount of automobile excise taxes collected in Williamstown. The Town might even see an increase in excise tax revenues when people replace less valuable old cars with new, fuel efficient cars that will owe higher excise tax bills.
5. When does this go into effect and how long will it last?
The grants would be for the 2007 motor vehicle excise tax bills that go out in January 2007. The program is limited to one year. Town Meeting will have to decide next year if it wants to continue the grant program.
The text of the warrant article is as follows:
MOTOR VEHICLE EXCISE TAX GRANTS - Warrant Article 26
To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the Town to provide grants in the amount of seventy-five percent (75%) of the 2007 annual motor vehicle excise tax imposed on any passenger automobile, van or light truck manufactured in the five most recent model years with a USEPA fuel economy rating of 50 miles per gallon or greater for city driving and 50 miles per gallon or greater for highway driving, or fifty percent (50%) of the 2007 annual motor vehicle excise tax imposed on any passenger automobile, van or light truck manufactured in the five most recent model years with a USEPA fuel economy rating of 30 miles per gallon or greater for city driving and 35 miles per gallon or greater for highway driving, but not both.
URL to view letters to the editor supporting this warrant article:
North Adams Transcript, May 5, 2006, Williamstown Selectman Philip Guy:
North Adams transcript, May 13, 2006, Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin:
Town Meeting time and location: 7 p.m. Tues., May 16. Williamstown Elementary School