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New Mexico revisits tax credits for electric vehicles after governor's veto

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The administration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham used a legislative hearing Monday to outline new priorities for state credits toward the purchase of electric vehicles that would aid low-income residents as well as small businesses.

Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke told a panel of legislators the administration envisions tax credits that would provide a refund for low-income residents toward the purchase of a electric or plug-in electric vehicle.

She said the credit likely would apply to new and used vehicles, mimicking federal incentives.

That would ensure that people with the lowest incomes and have the lowest tax liability can fully participate, Schardin Clarke said.

She also signaled support for corporate income tax credits to spur deployment of electric vehicles by small businesses, an offer that wouldn't apply to large vehicle fleets.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, intends to pursue tax credits for electric vehicles during the upcoming legislative session, starting in January 2024. Bills have not yet been introduced.

In April, the governor vetoed a package of tax credits from Democrats in the legislative majority designed to rein in climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption, including a credit of up to $4,000 toward the purchase of an electric vehicle — indicating that she wasn’t satisfied with provisions.

Schardin Clarke said the appropriate size of tax credits for electric vehicles is still under study.

Monday's hearing also explored aspirations and concerns surrounding proposed rules for automakers to provide an increasing number of electric cars and trucks for sale in New Mexico. Republicans in the legislative minority pilloried that plan as impractical for residents of rural swaths of the state and a threat to local vehicle dealerships.

Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act provided a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 to use toward certain EVs. Starting in 2024, people who want to buy a new or used electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle will be able to get U.S. government income tax credits at the time of purchase.