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Friday, March 25, 2011

CBO Says Taxing-By-The-Mile is an 'Efficient' Way to Raise Revenue

Just when you thought that the Government could think of new ways to take your money, they don't... They just come up with old ideas instead.

Ever since 'green' technology and electric cars have become the latest fad, politicians have been wondering how they are going to replace the tax revenue from the gas tax. That is based on the premise that electric cars will need little if any gas and therefore revenues from the gas tax will dramatically drop.

The First Idea to replace the gas tax was spawned around 2005 with something called Tax-by-the-mile. This Idea met with alot of resistance from the Public with fears of an Orwellian Society where the Government Tracks your every move and Controls your Behavior through your Wallet.

While this may seem far fetched, most people don't realize that this Tax "Idea" is alot closer to becoming a reality.

In 2005 the Government began a study, in conjunction with the University of Iowa, on how to implement a "Tax by the Mile" Program. That study was finally completed last year. According to the an Article done by ABC News on the Study, the Tax-by-the-Mile system would go something like this:

"Every time the drivers filled up at two of the participating gas stations, the device would automatically calculate how many miles they drove. Instead of being charged Oregon's 24-cents-a-gallon gas tax, the motorists were charged 1.2 "Ultimately, you pay for the mileage that you drive," Starr said. "We made it really clear that our pilot was revenue-neutral. We didn't want to raise more taxes from Oregon drivers but just to test the concept."

At the end of the pilot, 91 percent of the volunteers said they would agree to continue paying the mileage fee in lieu of the gas tax if the program were extended statewide.

The catch for Oregon: Retrofitting vehicles with the devices was extremely costly. Starr said that if a vehicle-miles-traveled tax is ever permanently implemented, the automakers would have to be required to install the transponders in all new cars.

"It's something that needs to be addressed at the federal level," Starr said. "It really makes very little sense for one state on its own to implement a VMT."

Oregon charged all the volunteers the same 1.2 cents for each mile driven, although the rate could be adjusted as necessary. The technology could be used to charge motorists more for driving during rush hour or less for off-hours. Certain zones could also be deemed congestion areas and higher fees could be assessed.

So, states could actually tax people more for driving through city centers during their morning commute than a farmer on a rural road at midnight. States could also charge higher rates to SUVs and lower rates to hybrids if they wanted to encourage the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Such tracking has drawn concerns from privacy advocates, although VMT supporters say such issues can be resolved."

So If I was still a long distance commuter where I drove 100 Miles a day round trip to and from work 5 days a week. At .1 cent a Mile I would rack up $300 in taxes by the time I needed to change the oil. That would mean almost every month I would have to come up with an additional $300 just to pay taxes since I lived 50 miles from where I work. Somehow I just don't see that happening on my salary.

And while the above article claims that retrofitting everyone's vehicle with a device that could allow a Tax-by-The-Mile system might be expensive, it's not impossible.

The University of Iowa created a video on how the Government might install such a device in any vehicle to track your mileage:

So a GPS is going to be located in your car and the Government Isn't Going to Record your Every Location... Yea I believe that, don't you?

Doesn't the saying Absolute Power Corrupt Absolutely Ring Any Alarm Bells??

As Crazy as all this sounds it just got a little Crazier.

According to an Article on CNS News the Congressional Budget Office has said that a Tax-By-The-Mile program is an Efficient way to Raise Revenue:

"(CNSNews.com) - A new Congressional Budget Office study says taxing motorists based on the number of miles they drive would be a fair and "efficient" way to charge motorists for the real cost of using the nation's highways. "Vehicle-miles traveled" taxes (or VMT taxes) also would provide a strong incentive for people to drive less.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood floated the idea of a VMT tax one month after President Obama took office, but Obama’s spokesman immediately shot it down. "It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reportersin February 2009.

But that was then.

The CBO study, released this week, says the federal government pays in part for about 25 percent of the nation's highways, which carry about 85 percent of all road traffic. Right now, federal spending on those highways is funded mainly by taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, but those taxes do not raise enough money to support either the current federal spending on highways -- or the higher spending levels that some transportation planners advocate.

The CBO said most of the costs of using a highway, including pavement damage, congestion, accidents, and noise, are tied more closely to the number of miles traveled than to the amount of fuel consumed.

While raising fuel taxes would bring in more money, the CBO notes that a "fundamental" problem would remain: "By themselves, fuel taxes cannot provide a strong incentive for people to avoid overusing highways," the report said.

On the other hand, VMT taxes would have most motorists paying "substantially more than they do now -- perhaps several times more," the report said. "Such a system would maximize the efficiency of highway use by discouraging trips for which costs exceed benefits."

So as you can see, the Government is always looking for the next way to get money out of your wallet (and Blood from a Stone) while forcing you to change your behavior in a way that pleases those in power. (For instance not Driving so Much but Maybe Using that GREAT Bullet Train the President is going to Build).

Because as you know, the Founding Fathers would NEVER have complained about the British King taxing them by the Miles they walked or Rode their Horse...

Would they?

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