New vehicle tax credit causing controversy

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Cash for Clunkers is over, but the opportunity to cash in continues. A new tax credit promises to pay you handsomely for a buying a vehicle some say only sees time on a golf course. Nicknamed "Cash for Clubbers" by critics, the new plan causing protesters and profiteers to move quickly.

It sits at a golf cart shop on a golf cart lot, but don't call it a golf cart.

"This is an LSV," explained Bob Hill, with The Cart Shed. "It is actually an automobile - an electric automobile."

LSVs, or low speed vehicles, arrived quietly about 10 years ago. But, 10 months ago the American Relief and Recovery Act put them in the limelight offering a tax credit that was hard to miss.

"It's big money...$4,300 and it's someone's ability to claim that $4,300 on this car," said Hill.

At The Cart Shed, Hill says the car resembling a cart has caused confusion.

"We field 100 calls a day wanting tax credit on a golf cart," said Hill. "There is no tax credit for a golf cart."

Despite looking alike, the difference begins with the motor. Your standard golf cart motor runs about two horsepower, but in the newer, bigger, LSV's the horsepower can run anywhere from four to up to 15. It is a difference that's seen in size, and, in the biggest factor, speed.

"A golf cart is a slow moving vehicle not allowed to run in excess of 19 mph," explained Hill.

LSVs must be able to travel faster than 20 miles per hour, a requirement we put to the test with success. Unlike golf carts LSVs are street legal on roads in Texas posted at 35 miles per hour or less.

"It has to have headlights and tail lights and brake lights and a horn and turn signals and outside mirrors and emergency brakes," said Hill.

Tax credits range from $2,500 to $15,000 depending on battery power. It is a healthy sum of tax payer money giving savings to those who can pay, and raising questionable spending doubts for those who can't.

"Coming out of this fun we've had this last year in the economy it's certainly a help to me," said Hill. "The question is: Would I like to see our government spending the money this way?"

To qualify for the program, purchase and delivery of your LSV must be made by December 31st. You will be eligible for whatever amount of credit your vehicle qualifies for when you file your 2009 federal income tax documents.

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