May 8, 2011

The Insanity of A Mileage Tax

Monique Chartier

... has been set aside. But Anthony Watts over at Watts Up With That ominously predicts that this is just a postponement by the Obama administration and not a cancellation.

Today at 10:15AM EST, the story was updated, and now the White House says this:
“This is not an administration proposal,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said. “This is not a bill supported by the administration. This was an early working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the administration, does not taken into account the advice of the president’s senior advisers, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the president.”


…we are shelving the idea until after the 2012 election.

But 2013 is not that far away, especially in the minds of politicians who have lit on a particularly senseless and horrible way to stake a claim on yet more of our money. Accordingly, I have a question. (Everyone is welcome to chime in with theirs.)

Would this law be applied with the integrity and equality of health care reform? In other words, if a mileage tax law is implemented, how long before we hit the per capita equivalent of over a thousand exemptions? At which point, of course, principle has been left far behind and replaced with a favoritism-based political sham that turns easily into an ad at re-election time. ["We passed health care reform!!! (Without inconveniencing our supporters ...)"]

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The inefficient and oblivious government bureaucrats seek control of our daily lives. "Smart" meters (oh-oh don't use too much electricity),low flush toilets (or too much water), twisted ugly light bulbs (toxic when disposed), bio-mass fuels (it takes 1 million lbs. of bio-mass to make 1 gal. of useable fuel),wind energy (yeah that works....especially on calm days),etc,etc. The government you see thinks they know better than us how to run our lives. Give us options not over-reaching controls. Now they want another "use" tax. After taxing the living daylights out of everyone to construct highways (gas taxes,etc) they want to tax you again for using them. Out of control govt. with out of control politicians. God bless the country.

Posted by: ANTHONY at May 8, 2011 10:24 PM

Mileage tax is not a new idea by the federal government. Right now Oregon and 17 other states are looking at a mileage tax.

There is a big OOOPS!!!!! forgot about that with the drive to be energy efficient with motor vehicles. With more hybrids, all electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the roads gasoline taxes the backbone of state and federal road maintenance funds keeps dropping.

With high gasoline prices forcing people into these energy efficient vehicles it seems to be a win for the people and loss for state and federal government.

Road repairs are not being funded so this is why the exploration of the mileage tax is happening. Oregon will be the leader and established the baseline. They’ve already tested mileage reporting transponders on vehicles.

Posted by: Ken at May 9, 2011 12:13 AM

There would be no need to consider such an Orwellian monstrosity as a mileage tax if the government had used the gas tax and truck tax money for roads, as originally intended, instead of wasting it on welfare and Medicaid for illegal aliens and able-bodied shirkers.

Posted by: BobN at May 9, 2011 6:38 AM

I am reminded once again, of a well stated, short and to the point Ronald Reagan quote:

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Posted by: swamper at May 9, 2011 7:11 AM

"if the government had used the gas tax and truck tax money for roads"

There's no guarantee that the mileage tax would be used on roads either, so this is really ridiculous by any legislator to even state it.

Very similar in RI. I'm surprised a recent Hummel report didn't get more attention where he showed that the state collects $9M a year from that little $1 911 fee on your phone bill. The state's 911 budget? $3.5M. So where does the rest of the money go? How is that not illegal? I'm being told that I'm paying $1 toward the state's 911 service, but actually only about 33 cents of it is, the rest is going to the Assembly's pet projects. Class action suit?

Posted by: Patrick at May 9, 2011 7:46 AM

How is this more insane than anything else the "progressives" do?
Read the platform of Canada's Communist party and you will see what US "progressives" really are. From Wikipedia:

As outlined in its campaign for the 2011 Canadian federal election, the party seeks the following goals and policies:[1]

* Worker's rights such as full employment, higher minimum wage, shorter work week and ending outsourcing.
* The creation of a "Bill of Rights for Labour" enacting socialist economic rights.
* Higher taxes for those with higher incomes; lowering taxes for those of lower incomes.
* Electoral reform, dissolving the Canadian Senate, enacting MMP, set voting age to 16.
* Expand public ownership and reverse privatization such as ending P3 programs.
* Nationalize energy and natural resources and shift emphasis from fossil and nuclear sources to renewable energy.
* Peace and disarmament, ending involvement in Afghanistan and Libya and withdrawing from NATO and NORAD.
* Preserve and expanded public health care in Canada as well as other social programs and poverty reduction.
* Environmental reforms and climate change measures.
* Anti-globalization such as pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
* Expanding public housing and banning evictions and foreclosures due to unemployment.
* Repeal state security legislation like the no-fly list; more public monitoring of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
* Strengthen Aboriginal and French Canadian rights and recognition.
* Fight gender inequality and expand the rights of women and homosexuals and transexuals.
* Expand public education and other youth rights.
* Racial equality, including immigration reform.
* Support family and organic farming.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at May 9, 2011 8:49 AM

I don't realistically see this happening. The overhead would be too monstrous. It's easier to tax gas, and taxing gas accomplishes the revenue/environmental goals much better. As cars get more efficient, you could just raise the gas tax more and it will still punish inefficient vehicles more than efficient ones.

Gas pumps are already regulated, taxed, and monitored. Burning gas has clear environmental implications and I don't mind the government applying a little bit of a 'carrot and stick' to offsetting existing perverse suburbanization incentives (mortgage interest tax credit?, federal highway funding? Those are 'give aways' to the suburbs in my opinion.)

Posted by: mangeek at May 9, 2011 9:38 AM

I am sometimes required to drive in order to provide services to my clients at my job (not a state worker). I do get a modest reimbursement for my gas usage, which now doesn't even really cover the cost now with gas being $4/gallon, or the wear & tear on my car from the lovely roads (2 tires in the past year). Given the lovely economy around these parts I'm not expecting an increase in the reimbursement anytime soon. Trust me: I'd love to not have to put 18,000 miles a year on my car (itty bitty Hyundai) but like I said, my job requires it. And given the crappy state of the economy in RI, I'm very thankful to have this job. If they were to tax me & others who do similar things for a living on our miles driven I can only imagine what it'd do to my household budget: it cost me over $50 to fill up (over the line in MA, of course) my small car this weekend. At the same time, if the gov't taxed my employer I'd think they'd have to make cuts elsewhere to make up the difference in their reimbursement to us. Maybe cut it all together? We've already made numerous sacrafices in the past several years due to budget issues; isn't it time the gov't does the same?

Posted by: Stephanie at May 9, 2011 10:53 AM

mangeek-it's not a "mortgage interest tax credit"-it's an itemized deduction-huge difference.If you file a short form,you can't take it.
i own my home outright so I have no dog in the fight.
Why do you want to punish homeowners?
Why not stick it to illegal aliens getting free medical care and other goodies?
They aren't supposed to be here period,but we have to kiss their asses at the behest of progressive fools pushing their notion of "social justice".

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 9, 2011 5:01 PM

I don't have a problem with a mileage tax, as long as it replaces the gas tax, and not supplement it. If drivers are going to be taxed based road use, the mileage tax is likely a fairer way to do it. I would differentiate between miles driven by cars and light trucks, medium rigid and heavy rigid/ combo trucks.

Posted by: Sully at May 10, 2011 11:55 AM

"it's not a "mortgage interest tax credit"-it's an itemized deduction"

Yup, I was sloppy. Thanks.

"i own my home outright so I have no dog in the fight."

I just purchased three years ago, so I -do- have a dog in the fight. The deduction saves me about $3,000/year.

"Why do you want to punish homeowners?"

I don't want to 'punish homeowners', I want to stop the manipulation of the market by this perverse incentive. It raises the cost of homes by making it more affordable to buy, then fades away after about eight years, which reduces stability in the market. It simultaneously props up -and- destroys the market, while incentivizing people to use their homes as ATMs (HELOCs, etc.). On top of that, it also incentivizes home ownership, which sounds great politically, but any conservative will tell you that manipulating people into purchasing today only makes things worse for us tomorrow.

"Why not stick it to illegal aliens getting free medical care and other goodies?"

That has nothing to do with this. I'm fairly confident that the fiscal impact of the deduction is much more than the benefits illegal immigrants get.

For further reading:

Economists HATE the deduction. The real-estate industry loves it because it's propping-up prices, which they benefit from, while the economy as a whole suffers. Wouldn't you rather have homes be more affordable in the first place than have the government helping people into them with what is essentially a subsidy on poor personal finance practices?

Posted by: mangeek at May 10, 2011 3:00 PM

Gee,I never even thought of using my home as an ATM.
If some people do,it's on them.
My wife and I didn't go to Vegas,eat out at expensive places,etc.We weren't cheap-just lived within our means and envied nobody.
We also didn't buy cars that cost as much as a house.
Keeping things at a happy medium is the way to go.
I still can't agree with you on this deduction.
Some tax write offs are absolutely ridiculous.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 10, 2011 5:30 PM
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