Monday, March 28, 2011

Taxes By The Mile In The USA?

Taxes By The Mile In The USA?

The Proposed Vehicle Mile Tax

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

They are testing the waters again in Washington. Always looking for an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis to squeeze even more money from the taxpayers of America. There is a proposal being floated about in “Foggy Bottom” to tax US drivers for every mile they drive in their cars, trucks, vans, SUV’s, or whatever. The Congressional Budget Office is referring to it as the “Vehicle Mile Tax” or VMT. Here’s what has happened: Due to the high per gallon price of gasoline many drivers have greatly reduced the use of their cars and trucks. My truck, for instance, is virtually parked. I drive it one or twice a week and then only on short hops -- all within the city limits. My truck is ten years old but has only about 50,000 miles on it. But it uses more gasoline than the family Buick. So it remains parked. It would seem that most American families are doing the same thing or something very much akin to it. A huge portion of the per gallon price of gasoline is state and federal taxes. So, you can imagine that when Americans began driving less and using less gasoline, the tax stream from gasoline into the tax coffers of the states and the federal government went from a roaring stream to a trickle. And THAT got the attention of the “taxaholics” in Washington, DC and in the states. Thus the proposal to tax American drivers for every mile they drive -- and that is on top of the taxes we are already paying on every gallon of gasoline we purchase. I must tell you that my state, North Carolina, has one of the highest taxes on gasoline of any state in the Union. So, when I heard about the “mileage tax” proposal, it got my attention. Just so we are clear: I HATE the idea! In 2008, here in North Carolina, something called the 21st Century Transportation Committee recommended the state adopt a “taxes by the mile” plan. As I understood the proposal, the state would carefully record the miles each Tar Heel driver drove, over the preceding twelve months, and the vehicle’s owner would be charged the appropriate amount in taxes for each mile driven. As North Carolinians take their cars in each year for the mandated annual state inspection (which by itself is a gigantic tax scheme!) The mileage on the odometer would have been recorded. This was to be the source of the mileage figures used to tax NC drivers. Transportation experts told us then that sometime later the state could switch to GPS tracking of NC Drivers. This scheme was called the “Road Use Tax.” It is interesting to note that NC had a Democratic Party controlled legislature in 2008. So what happened? The NC voters told the Democrats in the NC Legislature to hit the very road they wanted to tax -- and replaced them with a Republican controlled legislature. Oregon and California have also considered imposing such road taxes on their citizens, as well. The fact that driver’s pockets would be picked by a “tax by the mile” (Vehicle Mile Tax) road tax was just too much for the North Carolina voters to stomach. There is another disturbing aspect of these mileage tax rip-offs; the device attached to our cars would also emit a signal, much as a GPS device does, that would allow the government to know where we are, in our car, at all times. Sounds incredible, does it not? THAT HAS been suggested. More than likely, it would be continuous tracking of our road miles. Either way, it is just more big brother government intrusion into our lives. Look: US drivers pay approximately 35 billion dollars in federal gasoline taxes annually. You’d think our highways would be paved in gold rather than asphalt! This whole thing smacks of another trick by the liberal-socialists to herd Americans into mass transit. It is all a part of the “green agenda” to deprive Americans of their celebration of freedom – the automobile – in favor of bicycles, trolleys, and commuter trains, etc. There is an editorial at the Washington Times we urge you to read. It is entitled: CBO’s toll-road fib. You will find it HERE. “Motorists are one of the most overtaxed groups in America, and the automobile has done more to enable this country’s economic success than any other invention.”(Read the entire article in the Washington Times HERE.) I am inclined to believe this is more of the leftist agenda to dismantle America until it becomes just another third-world country. J. D. Longstreet

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