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US senator proposes bill offering $3,500 discount on American-made cars

The funding for such an ambitious incentive would come from removing tax cuts offered to automakers' overseas operations.

Would you be more likely to buy an American-made vehicle if it came with $3,500 cash on the hood, guaranteed? That's the thinking behind the latest bill proposal from Ohio's senior US senator.

Senator Sherrod Brown unveiled his latest bill proposal this week. The American Cars, American Jobs Act would give buyers a $3,500 discount when purchasing a vehicle made in the US. The discount would also apply to lessees who sign up for a five-year lease.

Almost 100 different vehicles make the list (PDF), which requires that at least 45 percent of a vehicle's parts must come from the US and Canada, and that vehicle's final assembly must take place in the US.

Honda has been building Accords in Marysville, Ohio since 1982.

Honda

The list includes SUVs, sedans, coupes, sports cars, luxury cars -- something for everyone, basically. And since it's American-made vehicles that qualify, and not just cars from domestic automakers, you can choose from a variety of OEMs, including Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volkswagen. EV fans shouldn't fret, either -- Tesla's on the list, too.

(It bears noting that many of the vehicles on the list come from the state Senator Brown represents in the US Senate, and every single vehicle made in Ohio makes the cut for this list.)

In terms of funding, Senator Brown has an idea. According to the bill's one-pager (PDF), it would receive its funding from rescinding a special tax break for automakers. Right now, US-owned foreign subsidiaries' profits are taxed at 0 percent unless the profits exceed 10 percent of the subsidiary's value -- at that point, the profits are taxed 10.5 percent, or half of the full corporate tax rate of 21 percent.

Senator Brown proposes changing that 10.5-percent tax rate to the full 21 percent if certain criteria are met. Brown believes this will provide a disincentive for automakers to take some of their work overseas, further benefiting domestic manufacturing.

Of course, there are many steps between this proposal merely existing and it becoming law. It would need to be introduced, considered in committee, and then brought to the floor for debate and a vote. And that's just one of the two halves of the process -- both the Senate and House need to approve versions of the bill, reconcile them, and vote on a final version before it lands on the president's desk.

(Hat tip to The Car Connection!)