Tax per mile

The new bright idea that will not die in Washington is the replacement / supplement of the gas tax with a tax per mile driven. (Ironically, some of the same people who complained of Bush administration intrusion in our private lives want the government to install a GPS in everyone's car and monitor where and when we travel).

Supposedly, this will increase tax receipts and discourage bad behavior, i.e., driving a car.

Of course, by taxing your commute, this will irrevocably destroy suburban home values. In turn, this will worsen the banking, foreclosure and property crises.

If this becomes law, it would erode wealth and further impoverish the suburban middle class.

It will be interesting to see if this becomes an issue in the California senate race.

Tags: gas tax, property crisis (all tags)



Dead and buried....

Try to keep current in the outrage-fest...

This is so stale, it was debunked and already forgotten.

Ray LaHood floated it, the Obama folks slammed it to the curb.


by WashStateBlue 2009-03-12 08:51AM | 0 recs
Actually, it's still alive in congress . . .
and Barbara Boxer is a major proponent.
I suggest you google before you snark.
by kosnomore 2009-03-12 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, it's still alive in congress . . .

Wow, I did not know that. If she is still peddling this nonsense, time to complain to her office.

by Pravin 2009-03-12 09:10AM | 0 recs
it's NOT alive in congress....

Boxer is yaking it up, she knows it wouldn't even get out of committee.

It's great fodder for angry editorials, but nothing more.


by WashStateBlue 2009-03-12 09:17AM | 0 recs
I'm confused - -
is the idea "stale", "debunked" and "already forgotten", or is one of the most powerful US senators, from the biggest state, still "yaking it up"?
And, when did you get the psychic connection with Boxer that allows you to read her mind and know what she's thinking?
All I know is that I think it's a dumb, counter productive idea with lots of unintended consequences, it nonetheless has powerful proponents, and it could hurt anyone too closely associated with the idea, IMHO.  Wouldnt you use it against a candidate in an auto-centered state like California?
by kosnomore 2009-03-12 01:13PM | 0 recs
Oh come on.....

I don't know why I bother, this is just your feigned outrage of the day, but what the hell.

Look, Senators pontificate. They play to their base, they love to get their face in the news.

Point is, Ray LaHood floated this idea, and the Obama team couldn't stomp it fast enough.

Boxer talked about his LAST YEAR, I didn't see her leaping to LaHood's defense or claiming she is going to ram this through the committee.

Hell, 9/10s of what these characters say is completely fluff, and that is both sides of the aisle.

We know you are a Republican, so you are buying into the Bait and Switch Job these guys are running.

What's next?  More about Pelosi's use of a gov plane?

Jeesh, KNM, if we wanted this stuff, we would hang out at RedState.

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-12 01:30PM | 0 recs
I'll make it simple



by DTOzone 2009-03-12 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Suburban homes have been subsidized by free highways and low gas taxes for too long.  Meanwhile, we are destroying the environment with subdivisions that stretch out 50+ miles from the center city, and by building a vast infrastructure into the hinterlands that cannot possibly be maintained.  Things need to change.  Time to let the owners of suburban housing pay the true cost for their choices - one way or another.

by mikes101 2009-03-12 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

But dude, they already pay, they live in the suburbs, Yuck.  Plus keep the kids in the burbs.  Let's concentrate on getting alt energy cars/fuels instead of making families pay for moving into a home they can afford

No offense, but this idea sucks, even if it not really being considered in Congress.    these peeps already pay more for the gas they use, you want to punish someone for wanting a house and some room for kids because the only current available means of transportation, reasonably, is via gasoline automobile?  

Have a little compassion to the families that really are just trying to get a house - they don't live there because it's convenient or because it's desirable, it's because they have to if they want to own a house.  See Victorville, CA for a reference, enjoy the daily 30 to 60 mph winds, with an daily commute of 4 hours


by KLRinLA 2009-03-12 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

ugh, Victorville.  God's blind spot.

by fogiv 2009-03-12 10:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Let's concentrate on getting alt energy cars/fuels instead of making families pay for moving into a home they can afford

I think we need alt energy cars, mass transit, denser affordable developments closer to the city, AND increases in gas taxes / tolls / mileage taxes.  It's not an either / or, and I'm not trying to punish anyone.  But forcing poor / middle class families to live 50 miles from the city is crappy public policy that needs to change.  We should be discouraging these types of exurban developments as much as possible.

by mikes101 2009-03-13 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

actually i quite agree.  for example - in my city - toronto - the area surrounding it has been dubbed the GTA.  basically this covers over 7000km of area where the majority commute to the city.  not only does this stress the infrastructure and environment but it puts the burden of the 'transportation' costs onto the city dwellers.

two solutions - like london - add heavy tolls into cities for cars or add major incentives for public transportation - 2 birds one stone.

by canadian gal 2009-03-12 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Unfortunately, we are not like you or the brits.

Public Transportation has a WAY better chance then an additional tax on mileage.

It's hard to judge the most successful of Republican Memes, but you say the word "additional taxes" to most Americans, and it's like you just said you were going to murder their parents or burn the Flag.

We are conditioned, no matter what, more taxes are bad....

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-12 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

oh i don't know about that.  there are plenty of people here that have no problem paying higher taxes...

that said -  i see what you point is and the controversy surrounding this issue is here as well as in england at the time.  but take los angeles as an example - the hub of left-wing thinking - public transportation is pitiful.  not that my city is better...

but i lived in asia - and you can get anywhere with public transportation - as north americans - we really need to start thinking a little further ahead for our own and children's sakes.

by canadian gal 2009-03-12 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Obama / Biden could help change that.

Biden said paying taxes was patriotic.

Also most bond issues that go to things like improving airports, seaports, public schools, and transit pass.  Similarly I think if it could be clearly laid out that increases in taxes were going to fund specific types of public transportation improvements or specific needed roadway capacity upgrades, people would be more supportive than they are for tax increases to say, service the debt.

by mikes101 2009-03-12 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

The congestion charge in London has not had anypositive effecvt on the environment or traffic in London (at least as of 2007 when I left).  These kinds of taxes are regressive, which means they disproportionately harm the less wealthy and limit their opportunities to move freely.  I personally am opposed to most regressive taxes for this reason.  

by orestes 2009-03-14 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

This is old news. Both the left and the right hate this idea.

by Pravin 2009-03-12 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Well, you can pay taxes for driving or pay taxes for killing people in Middle Eastern countries.  Which one suits you better?

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

There is already a tax in place for driving - it's called a gas tax. Even if fuel economies vary by car, the correlation to miles driven is close enough, but not exact enough to encourage fuel efficiency to a small extent.

The overhead in creating a new category of taxes when you can get most of it through an existing gas tax is needless and would be stupid to do so. And while hte privacy given up is not major, it is too much for what we, as citizens, get back in return, which is a negligible marginal benefit.

by Pravin 2009-03-12 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Well, we need to increase the gas tax.  Ultimately, we will need a different tax because our cars will either get 100 mpg or will not run on gas anymore, so the "correlation to miles driven" will NOT be close enough in the coming years.  Arguably, it is not close enough already - someone driving a Prius versus an F-150 - these people are paying far different gas taxes as it stands now.

And BTW, what is Obama's solution here?  From what I can tell it looks like more toll roads.  That is not my ideal method of raising more money - unless we can implement a national EZ pass system.  Otherwise we end up with a patchwork of tolls and systems which I think is sub-optimal.  And if we do implement a national EZ pass system, we are basically at the same endpoint as if we just raised the gas tax and / or taxed miles driven - a system where big brother might be watching you, and ultimately a new category of generating revenues.

Raising the Federal Gas Tax is a No Go - WSJ article

by mikes101 2009-03-12 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

I have no problem increasing the gas tax. The structure to collect such a tax already exists. I am just against a tendency to find ways to tax everything to such a minute degree. I am against increasing toll roads too on a knee jerk basis. It is needless overhead.

As far as the correlation to miles driven, consider the gas tax as a tax and deduction rolled into one easy way of accounting for miles driven and fuel efficiency. That's the beauty of it. Instead of taxing people for miles driven, and then giving people deduction for fuel efficient cars(as proposed by environmentalists), the gas tax takes care of both.

Will a miles driven tax be more correlative of wear and tear of the roads? Sure. But is the marginal increase in the fairness of the use of resources big enough to justify the overhead of a new tax? I don' think so. Do we want to start issuing special taxes for everything government builds based on usage?

The government did have money to maintain roads. It's too bad the country let our politicians send that money to Iraq.  There are solutions other than increasing taxes. I wish democrats would  fight harder on spending because Republicans like to spend too.

by Pravin 2009-03-12 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

I agree that raising the gas tax is the best solution in the short term.  But 10 years from now when I am driving a Chevy Volt and my average daily gasoline consumption is 0 gallons, yet I'm still commuting a total of 30 miles per day, I think it's a little ridiculous that I would pay nothing to help maintain / expand the infrastructure which I rely on.  Something beyond the gas tax will be required unless we want to take the $ from another existing source as you seem to imply.  Even without the war in Iraq and other Republican pet projects we still would have budget shortfalls every year...

by mikes101 2009-03-12 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

We'll have an electricy or hydrogen tax at that point my friend.  The driving tax is duplicitous and it punishes people who have to drive far.  

by KLRinLA 2009-03-12 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Speaking of punishing people that have to drive far, so will, in all likelihood, increases in the gas tax or increases in toll road construction.

What the Republican right wants to do is make all new capacity that is built in this country tolls.  We already have an example of that in Houston where I live - the new capacity added on the "free"-way I-10 is a new 4 lane tollway right down the middle of the freeway, which will be $4 to get into town at peak hours.  This is the first case of added capacity to a freeway being tolled lanes but most likely not the last.  

I would rather raise the gas tax and raise funding levels for mass transit and commuter rail (in effect forcing states, even backwards ones like Texas, to build systems comparable to the ones you have in Europe or the Northern US), but if we are going to keep building highway capacity I hate to say but I think the people who use it the most and benefit from it are the ones that should pay the most.  Hopefully some of the existing toll profits can be used for mass transit improvements but I'm not holding my breath.

by mikes101 2009-03-12 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

a good point, bu then waht about people who use the mass-transit?  Do they have to pay more depending on usage on top of the fee to ride?  That person would use the state built/funded infrastructure the most and benefit from it the most.  I just think it has good heart, but not practical or necessarily fair

by KLRinLA 2009-03-12 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Well, I think mass transit users should benefit because they are taking a form of transportation that could really benefit the environment and cut down on road development / parking structure / gas infrastructure costs.  Mass transit also allows denser development which will allow the US to grow to 450 million people by 2050 without exurbs that grow to be 100 miles from the city center.

Ideally, I think mass transit should be what 70+% of the people use in our major cities - as in Europe.  And it should basically be a public service where the vast majority of the cost is subsidized by taxpayers, with slightly greater fees for different zones as some cities already use.  Perhaps you could come up with an unsubsidized system (where only the poor are given free rides) but I really think that things like transportation (mass transit), education (public schools), and healthcare (universal healthcare w/ preventive care focus) are areas that government should subsidize for all of its citizens.

As for practicality, I think mass transit can become practical here even in places like LA, Houston, and Phoenix if we build it.  People will have to make different decisions about where they live and work based on where the subway line is, just as a highway location may influence those decisions today.  Of course it will take time, perhaps several decades, for the true impact to be felt - but you have to start building what you want at some point.

by mikes101 2009-03-13 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

I take no issue with your comment, I just think this tax per mile stinks in practice- it hurts people who don't have consistent destinations and/or do not have the option of mass transit, among other things (I am thinking of myself, working in LA, I don't really have feasible mass transit, and I live and work in the city).  Your last post is the ideal scenario I hope we acheive eventually, I just don't think this tax per mile is the tool to get us there.

by KLRinLA 2009-03-13 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Would you agree to a similar use tax for education?  Those with children who use the schools, add wear and tear to the facilities should pay for it?

by orestes 2009-03-14 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

these are good points.  still, nothing makes people more conscious of their consumption than watching it in real-time bite into their wallets.  i once heard a wise person say that the best way to increase gas mileage is to install one of those real-time mpg meters in every car and make people look at it.  you learn very quickly that driving like an idiot really does bite into your mpg.  i imagine a mileage tax would have a similar effect.  still, i agree that actually implementing this would be a nightmare.

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 11:43AM | 0 recs
Barbara Boxer perpetuates the tax happy stereotype

Kosnomore was right. ry/583276.html

The good news is this quote is from last year even if the item is current. So I wouldn't worry about this as long as an Obama administration is in place though I would like to see LaHood fired for being serious about such a dumb idea.

I addressed this issue in detail over here. 1/8002

by Pravin 2009-03-12 09:19AM | 0 recs
yeah, like I said...OLD NEWS!

This is great fodder for editorials, but NO ONE in the admin is going to float this idea in the current economy.

Hell, Pelosi is out talking another stimulus bill, you can't shut these people up.

The point is, Obama is sane, Congress would not let this happen, probably even in a GOOD economy.

Can we have outrage for stuff that actually deserves it?

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-12 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: yeah, like I said...OLD NEWS!

The case that the Fairness Doctrine is on the table is equally as strong as the case made in this diary.

by Steve M 2009-03-12 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

Horrible idea.

Just a brain dead dumb idea that had to be thought of by a pol who gets his car, gas, and driver paid for by corporate interests or is a freak and drives a scooter to work.

by RichardFlatts 2009-03-12 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Tax per mile

or maybe a freak that bikes to work like I do.

by the mollusk 2009-03-12 11:44AM | 0 recs
lol - yes

by RichardFlatts 2009-03-13 07:56AM | 0 recs
You technoligical elitist!

My GF walks to work....

Those hi-tech bicycle things will never catch on!

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-13 09:10AM | 0 recs


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