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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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May 6, 2014 - 8:53 am

California, you vote for these tyrants.

 The California Legislature is looking at a voluntary program that would tax motorists for every mile they drive.

KCAL9’s Bobby Kaple reports that Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, introduced a bill to test out the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax because the state’s gas tax was no longer bringing in the revenue it used to due to people driving more fuel efficient vehicles.

The program is modeled after ones in Oregon and Washington.

Both blue states. What a surprise.

It’s hard to imagine a more anti-jobs tax than taxing driving by the mile. Such a tax will increase the cost of everything. But I’m sure the Democrats are already imagining yet another economy-killing tax scheme.

The fact is, drivers are already taxed for every single inch that we drive. The gas taxes raise the price of every single gallon of gas. Localities, states and the federal government all come in for their cut. The more you drive, the more gas you buy, the more taxes you pay.

Democrats have preached fuel efficiency for decades. Now that cars are more efficient, Democrats just want a new way to come after your money. Because as Jan Schakowsky and by extension her pal Wendy Davis say, you don’t deserve to keep the money that you earn.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
Top Rated Comments   
Chalk this one up to the law of unintended consequences. Force manufacturers to build fuel-efficient cars or face steep fines, jack the price of fuel up into the stratosphere so as to force consumers into the dinky little fuel-sippers they don't WANT, but can afford to drive, all in the name of "saving the planet", then whine when fuel and road tax revenues decline. Democrats truly do not understand consequences. Nor do they understand behavior patterns.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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I actually have no problems with a "miles traveled" tax, PROVIDED a couple of provisions are included:

1. No automatic tabulation. Most states have periodic inspections of some kind, and mileage readings are part of that. If they don't, it's simple enough to have people send in an annual reading. Let it be manually reported every year.

2. Gas taxes must be eliminated.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't like paying taxes, but excise taxes on fuel purchases is one of the better ways to have the people who use roads pay for roads. If politicians had been more disciplined at only spending fuel taxes on roads, they'd be in a better position to argue for a tax increase. Besides fuel efficiency gains, inflation has cut the amount of road construction that can be funded with current cents per gallon tax rates. The problem is politicians have been anything but disciplined in spending fuel taxes only on roads.

Going forward, I would agree to pay higher fuel excise taxes in exchange for some reforms. First, states should be exclusively responsible for roads and the funding to pay for them. Second, I want a state constitutional amendment in my state of Texas that earmarks fuel tax revenue for highway construction. No diverting fuel taxes to schools or public transportation. Other states can make different tax and spending choices, but no imposing their choices on my state. Third, if there is ever a need to impose a per-mile tax on driving, that tax needs to be imposed in the least invasive way possible. For example, record the odometer reading at the time of the safety inspection instead of tracking where every car drives.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
... "the people who use roads pay for roads." This is true to an extent, but with new fuel efficient cars and "All Electronic" cars using a fuel tax means these drivers get a free pass.

Take it to the extreme... If everyone bought a Tesla then nobody would pay taxes on gas purchases and so there would be no money for roads.

Additionally if my car gets 25 mpg and yours gets 50 mpg, I end up paying more to use the same roads you would use. I am not causing more wear and tear on the roads... so why should I pay more?

So if you look at the per-mile-driven tax it would be a more fair tax than per gallon (IMO)... however there is still a problem with that.

The Black boxes or safety inspection reviews could tell you how many miles were driven, but not in which state those miles were driven. If I drive to Florida three times a year across several state lines, I sort of pay for it in each state I drive through since I have to fill up with gas. But if they just tax us based upon the total miles I drive per year, then states that I drive through (and thus use their roads) would not get any tax revenue for my road use.

Lord knows I wouldn't want the federal government to get involved and try to divide up the funds. I think the states should control their road fee revenue.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
All good points, however, not all states have annual safety inspections. I will never let them install a "black box" on my vehicle. This noise about a "per mile" driving tax has been making the rounds for a couple years now, and it's not feasible for one big reason: not every vehicle on the road is equipped with the onboard electronics necessary to attach a "black box" to.

I like your idea of a state constitutional amendment. If only every state was required by law to spend their tax revenues on the expenditures that said tax was originally sold to the public for. In other words, gas tax for roads and only roads, property tax millages for schools and only for schools, etc.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now's the time for TX Gov. Rick Perry to go to Palo Alto to court Tesla Motors, Fisker Automative in Anaheim, etc. I found 9 electric car companies either started & HQ'd in CA or their American Division (foreign manufacturer), is there & this is excluding American Honda & Toyota. In addition, there is at least 1 all electric ATV company & at least 1 "conversion" parts company (make your hybrid a plug-in total electric). This was with this one simple google search: "electric car companies"+"California". If I can get this much info., this fast, just imagine how much info. the Gov's staff can access. Good Bye California based "innovation"...you are no longer welcome & while your at it, please take all your Silicon Valley rich kid friends to Texas with you...they make too much money & are therefore an enemy to the State of California. NO ONE outside Hollywood is allowed to make a lot of money!!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chalk this one up to the law of unintended consequences. Force manufacturers to build fuel-efficient cars or face steep fines, jack the price of fuel up into the stratosphere so as to force consumers into the dinky little fuel-sippers they don't WANT, but can afford to drive, all in the name of "saving the planet", then whine when fuel and road tax revenues decline. Democrats truly do not understand consequences. Nor do they understand behavior patterns.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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