Political, sort of - delete if not interested
- Big Brother personified !!!
What part of this am I not understanding? Aren't we already taxed for our
mileage? Isn't that basically what we pay at the pumps? The more miles I
drive, the more fuel I purchase, and, therefore, the more tax on fuel I
pay. This Big Brother idea must be killed.
White House Wants to Track and Tax Your Mileage
Thursday, 05 May 2011 05:43 PM
By David A. Patten
Conservative economists, commentators, and politicians are blasting a
draft of an Obama administration plan that envisions using Big Brother-like
tracking devices on private cars to tax drivers on how many miles they travel.
The new tax scheme, designed to help fund transportation spending, would
determine your mileage by installing electronic equipment on your car. This
would involve monitoring your location and how far you’ve traveled.
Fox host Lou Dobbs offered this reaction to the trial balloon on his radio
show Thursday: “We’ve got an effective unemployment rate of nearly 17
percent in this country, and these idiots want to tax car mileage. It’s nuts,
what they want to do,” he said.
Cato economist Chris Edwards tells Newsmax that the proposal, which he
considers “a terrible idea,” is part of the reauthorization of U.S.
transportation programs that is expected to occur sometime in the next 12 months.
“There is a high degree of risk that there’s going to be all kinds of big
government, intrusive stuff in this bill,” he warns.
The administration, stung by rising gas prices and an 8-month high in
jobless claims Thursday, is backing away from the draft proposal Thursday.
White House spokesperson Jennifer Psaki called the proposed tax “an early
working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the
The 498-page draft of the administration’s Transportation Opportunities
Act was obtained and published by Transportation Weekly.
Psaki told TheHill.com that the draft plan “does not take into account the
advice of the president’s senior advisers, economic team or Cabinet
officials, and does not represent the views of the president.”
There has been growing momentum in recent months to find a new way to
finance transportation spending.
In March, the Congressional Budget Office offered support for taxing
drivers based on how many miles they travel. Payment, it suggested, could be
collected automatically at service stations.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., also has voiced
support for taxing mileage.
The draft of the transportation proposal, which reportedly has been
circulated within the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management
and Budget, would create a $300 million office within the Federal Highway
Administration to be called the “Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives
The office would be tasked with defining “the functionality of a mileage
based user fee system and other systems,” according to the draft.
One Republican quick to criticize the mileage tax on Thursday: Former GOP
Sen. George Allen.
Allen, who is campaigning to represent the Old Dominion in the U.S.
Senate, released a statement that: “In our struggling economy, the worst thing
Washington can do is raise taxes on middle-class families and small
businesses. Yet that is exactly what the latest scheme being floated by Washington
Democrats calls for.”
Concerned that increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles will reduce revenue
from current gasoline taxes, state officials in Oregon, Iowa, Nevada, and
Texas already are considering tax proposals based on mileage driven.
In Minnesota, the state department of transportation is conducting a
research project that would use smart phones with a GPS application to monitor
mileage. Critics point out, however, that taxing drivers based on miles
driven rather than gallons consumed would decrease their incentive to purchase
more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Quite apart from the economic issues are the privacy concerns. Allen
labeled the tax an “onerous, big brother proposal.”
Edwards, the editor of DownsizingGovernment.org, tells Newsmax: “There’s
clearly a potential for privacy abuses with such a system, government
tracking American citizens driving around in their cars. These government data
bases have often been hacked and leaked. So there’s a big privacy concern
The draft proposal calls for field trials to test the feasibility of the
mileage tax, but does not specify when or where those trials would occur.
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