Monday, March 29, 2010

Taxing Miles Driven?

President Obama, according to press secretary Gibbs will not seek to adopt a tax policy where motorists are taxed based on how many miles they drive, saying, “It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration." The question for Gibbs came after Secretary Ray LaHood told The Associated Press that he wants to consider that idea.

The system would purportedly require all cars and trucks to be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.  The device would tally how much tax motorists owed depending upon their road use. Motorists would pay the amount owed when it was downloaded, probably at gas stations at first, but an alternative eventually would be needed. [CBSnews]

Such "an idea" would adversely affect rural residents and have a lesser effect on urban residents, yet funds would, most likely, be more heavily utilized in urban areas where road usage, and thus damage, occurs more. Urban residents would benefit from being able to use their hybrid cars to advantage (the electric side) and avoid the gasoline tax, whereas, rural residents would see double taxation. Even if they were to drive an electric hybrid, to get to the urban center, they'd have to use gasoline. Thus, they'd be taxed twice, first for the gasoline and second for the miles they drove to get to the urban center and back.

Enough disparities exist already between urban and rural already exist without creating more.  For example,
  • Urban residents have multiple choices available to them for television, frequently having options of one or more cable services as well as various satellite services. Rural residents are lucky if a cable service is even willing to serve them and thus are stuck with having the option of only the higher priced satellite service or having only what they can pull in using an over-the-air antenna, which doesn't pull in much.
  • Urban residents have multiple choices for high speed internet available to them, including multiple-speed DSL and cable high-speed internet services. Rural residents aren't so lucky. If they're lucky enough to have cable TV service, they might be able to obtain cable internet services at one of the slower cable internet speeds. If they're not too far from the telephone office, they might be able to get the lowest of DSL speed internet services. But, most likely, they're either stuck with painfully slow dial-up services, or high cost satellite internet services.
  • Urban residents enjoy an abundance of doctors and usually, more than one hospital. Rural residents typically have a few family practice physicans and no specialists. To see a specialist, they must travel frequently hundreds of miles just to be evaluated ... and then have to travel hundreds of miles again for any ordered testing ... then hundreds of miles again to receive the results.

An argument that "you chose to live in the rural vs. an urban area" just isn't valid. In northern Nevada, mining operations are immediately accessible to the urban areas. Instead, they're located still remotely from rural communities. The same holds true in the rural mid-section of our country, the farm basket for our nation.

As a "rural" resident of this nation, I am NOT willing to support this disparate method of double-taxation for subsidizing road construction and repair ... which will most likely be more advantageous to urban residents at the expense of rural residents who would be the ones driving more miles to access needed services. For example, within Nevada, rural residents would see their tax monies support Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City metropolitan areas and would most likely see little to nothing in return for their rural communities.

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