Tennessee Volunteers Its Tax Dollars to Rich Greens

by Henry Payne

Add Tennessee — red-state, middle-America, country-music-lovin’ Tennessee?! — to the list of states offering tax breaks for the rich to buy battery-powered cars. The feds are already forking over $7,500 per car of your money so that Leo DiCaprio can drive a Chevy Volt. And states like Left Coast California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington have tacked on another $5,000 to further pad the green gentry’s wallets. The typical buyer of expensive green vehicles makes well over six-figures.

Tennessee’s move seems to be a nod to its Big Auto resident, Nissan, which received a pile of your money — $1.4 billion from a Department of Energy loan program — to retool a factory to build its new Nissan Leaf, an all-electric competitor to the Volt. The state will offer a $2,500 tax rebate to buyers of the first 1,000 electric vehicles sold.

Thanks to government’s trickle-up economics, the Leaf’s sticker when it is rolled out this winter will drop to $22,780 from its list of $32,780. The Volt would drop to $31,000 from $41,000.