Sacramento should stop new tax on driving

 

Do you want the government following your car every day? Most of us don’t like that Orwellian vision, but that’s what a tax scheme brewing in the Legislature just might do.

Californians don’t want a new tax on driving. As of December, the state pilot program to create a new mileage tax had convinced only 570 Californian drivers to sign up – a tiny portion of the 5,000-driver goal. Why Californians aren’t participating is clear: We don’t trust Sacramento with more of our money.

Proponents contend this new tax will replace the existing taxes on gasoline, but when is the last time you heard of a government eliminating a revenue source? The California sales tax was created as a temporary “emergency measure” in 1933, and it never went away. As Ronald Reagan said, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear.”

A similar pilot program underway in Oregon requires drivers to pay new mileage taxes on top of existing gas taxes. Drivers must wait to get a refund after the fact. This monthly billing process will only create greater issues with the creation of a bureaucratic collections agency.

Proponents also claim gas tax revenue is drying up, but, according to the most recent annual report from the California Board of Equalization, gas-tax collections were up a half-billion dollars in fiscal year 2013-14 over the year before, and gas consumption was also up by more than 100 million gallons during the same period. Despite the growing popularity of fuel-efficient vehicles, gasoline usage is not in terminal decline.