Deal assigned a panel of executives and lobbyists to vet tax proposals last year to try to control the election-year flood of incentives that typically springs up. This measure wasn't among the two top priorities listed by the panel, though it was included in a broader package recommended for review.
“The panel’s input is always important, but sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to review everything that moves,” Deal said in an interview. “But this is one of those that we all recognize that serves a two-fold purpose - it caps credits that we’re giving and it incentives energy efficient vehicles.”
It was the first tax break Deal signed this year, and one of a range of proposals pending Deal’s signature. Lawmakers handed out more than $250 million in tax cuts this year, including incentives for luxury jet-maker Gulfstream, breaks for back-to-school shoppers and boosts for video game developers.
The governor is also reviewing a tax exemption for food banks that he vetoed last year because he said it hadn't been vetted by the panel.
State Rep. Don Parsons, the Marietta Republican who sponsored the alternative fuel legislation, said it could have far-reaching impact.
“This will get us to less usage of foreign oil, less usage of gasoline, less usage of diesel fuel,” he said. “And it will jumpstart a move to alternative energy.”