Minnesota Department Of Transportation Testing A Movement Tax
The joke goes that the government taxes everything that moves. Except, it seems as though they’re getting pretty serious about that.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for 500 people to test technology that could someday be used to collect a mileage-based user fee.
Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road, decreasing revenue from the gas tax.
“This research will provide important feedback from motorists about the effectiveness of using technology in a car or truck to gather mileage information,” said Cory Johnson, project manager.
“We are researching alternative financing methods today that could be used 10 or 20 years from now when the number of fuel efficient and hybrid cars increase and no longer produce enough revenue from a gas tax to build and repair roads.”
Recruiting for the Minnesota Road Fee Test will begin in May, with research starting in July. Volunteers must be from Hennepin or Wright County. Drivers will be given smart phones with a GPS application that has been programmed to allow them to submit information. Volunteers will get a small stipend for expenses associated with the test.
The research is scheduled to end by December 2012.
The state of Oregon completed a similar study in November 2007. Iowa, Nevada and Texas are currently researching mileage-based user fees.
Mn/DOT says that if a mileage-based user fee were implemented, motorists would pay a fee based on how many miles they driver, rather than how much gas a vehicle uses, which is how Minnesota’s gas tax is currently designed.
In addition to the states mentioned in the article, the federal government has been considering a movement tax as well with Senator Kent Conrad saying it “shouldn’t be ruled out.”
It seems to me that the existing gasoline tax is actually pretty fair. I like taxes that tie the expense of a government service as closely as possible to the cost of providing that service. The fuel tax does that, I think. Those who drive more buy more gas and pay more tax. Those with lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles buy less fuel and pay less tax and represent less wear-and-tear on the roads. And vice versa for those with heavier, less fuel efficient vehicles.
If we need more money for roads and bridges nationally we should raise the fuel tax not introduce a new tax. Especially a tax that would be costly in terms of compliance and enforcement, and probably a violation of our right to privacy.
After all, how are they going to enforce compliance without auditing your travel? How can they measure your movement without tracking your travel?
Plus, keep in mind that this is a tax hike. The goal is to get more revenues, and that means more money out of our pockets.
This is a bad, bad idea.Tags: Kent Conrad, movement tax, privacy, Taxes