Framing the Dialogue

Fee Fi Foe Fraud

Here is a headline that unveils a basic tenant of ALL elected officials.  Their goal, both Democrats and Republicans, is to find a way to get our money so they can lavish it onto their constituents…

Pennsylvania drivers could be taxed on miles traveled, not gas usage

A Pennsylvania Republican, Representative Rick Geist, has proposed “to study a possible vehicle mileage tax” with a possible inclusion in a transportation funding package for next year’s budget.  As the combination of extremely high gasoline prices and higher mileage vehicles had diminished the amount of taxes collect at the pump elected officials need another way to get our money.  The procedure for raising taxes/fees now starts, at least externally, with a call for a study or better yet a commission, bipartisan if possible and not having current elected officials as members (retired officials are perfect as they understand the “system”).  The commission make painful recommendations that the current elected officials bemoan, but need to implement for the betterment of the people.  Perhaps agreeing in a bipartisan way to adopt with a simple “voice vote” so there is no written record of them voting for a fee increase.

You should relax as your future revenue stream is not a tax; it will be a fee and will be,

“In all honesty, the fairest revenue you have is at the pump, but unfortunately that is dwindling.  This fee is fair because the more miles you drive, the more you pay.”

Pennsylvanians already pay one of the highest gasoline tax rates in the country at $0.51 per gallon.  My prediction is that this tax (if it looks like a tax, smells like a tax, costs like a tax, it’s a tax) will be implemented within the next two years at a very low rate.  Automotive mechanics will probably be required to submit some type of report to the revenue office when they inspect your car and an invoice will be generated or better yet, the tax will be simply added to your bill at the service center.  Tax collectors (i.e. elected officials) much prefer to hide taxes/fees whenever they can.  The gasoline tax will not be taken away and the mileage fees will continue to increase. 

I understand that roads and infrastructure needs to be maintained, however, my concern is that transportation agencies continue to build and build and build as they complain about not having funds to maintain.  How about they stop building for a few years?  The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is undertaking a widening of the entire length of I76.  I could not find an estimate of the cost for the entire length, but based on the news releases I would guess it will be in excess of $2,000,000,000.  The project also includes reconstructing/maintenance on existing lanes, but this is not a trivial amount. 

I have a few ideas on additional fees that should be included in the budget for transportation expenses:

  1. A surcharge based on the number of wheels and gross vehicle weight as more wheels and more weight mean more wear.
  2. A surcharge on speeding tickets.
  3. An additional surcharge on speeding tickets for anyone driving a hybrid vehicle.  Since they lose all benefits of a hybrid by excessive speeds they need to pay more just because they are clueless.
  4. A surcharge on tailgaters…just because I just really hate these people.
  5. A surcharge on local governments that use far too much salt for snow/ice removal.  There will be no surcharge for other anti-skid materials that do not deteriorate the road.
  6. A fee charged to transportation officials who propose new construction projects.  I suggest a percentage of the cost of the project to be deducted from their salaries and benefits.
  7. A surcharge on mass transportation fares.  You might as well get this in as folks start to use more mass transportation thus reducing their mileage.
  8. A surcharge on Internet service.  You might as well get this in as folks start to work more from home avoiding driving and mass transit.
  9. A surcharge on living as folks “GO GALT.”

“Noah must have taken into the Ark two taxes, one male and one female. And did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific animals.”

Will Rogers

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