Key GOP senator skeptical of Trump effort to strip GM tax break

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch questioned President Donald Trump’s call to end a tax break for electric cars made by General Motors Co. and others following the company’s announcement that it would lay off workers and close plants.

“Chairman Hatch is working with Finance Committee members to determine how to proceed on tax extenders, but generally does not think tax policy should be made in retaliation for business decisions,” Nicole Hager, a spokeswoman for the panel, said in an emailed statement.

The retiring Utah senator, whose committee oversees tax policy, is weighing which temporary industry tax breaks to renew before the end of the year. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady released legislation earlier this week featuring a grab bag of unfinished tax business, including extensions of some breaks and fixes to last year’s tax overhaul. The electric vehicle tax credit extension isn’t included in that legislation, which faces tough odds in the Senate. Hatch hasn’t said whether he favors extending the electric vehicle credit.

Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut all “subsidies” for GM including those for electric cars in retaliation to the company’s decision to shed thousands of jobs and cancel production at five plants in North America. The automaker is trying to cut costs as it pours money into electric and self-driving cars.

Electric vehicle buyers are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The credit begins to phase out for a manufacturer after the first 200,000 eligible vehicles. Tesla Inc. has reached that threshold and GM is expected to reach it this year.

Bloomberg News
Tax breaks Tax credits Orrin Hatch Donald Trump General Motors