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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Highway to Hell!

Highway to Hell!

Though toll roads have all kinds of value, especially private ones responding to consumer demands, this is a plan to tax your gas (and property, and income, and ...) and ALSO charge you per mile....


Highway to Hell!

Pay-per-mile tax is latest cash grab from greedy pols

By Howie Carr
Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 
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The hacks at the State House are salivating at the prospect of charging you a penny for every mile you drive your car in Massachusetts.
This is a tax increase so monstrous that it would make M. Stanley Dukakis blush. We’re talking $555 million — the first year.
It’s an idea so terrible it can’t be killed. Like a vampire, it keeps coming back to life, and the stake hasn’t been invented that can be driven through its black heart.
The Vehicle Miles Traveled Fee, that’s what the payroll patriots and union thugs are calling it now, in a new transportation report full of similar euphemisms. New taxes, for instance, are now “funding strategies” and “local financial commitment.”
This new bleeding of the Dreaded Private Sector is necessary to pay for the “Green Line Extension.” It’s budgeted for $1.3 billion. By comparison, the Big Dig was initially budgeted for $2.6 million, and came in at $22 billion ... and counting.
This boondoggle is the Big Dig for the 21st century, although it may be eclipsed eventually by the even more preposterous proposal of commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River, those two bustling Bristol metropolises. It’ll help the South Coast’s self-esteem, you understand. They won’t feel neglected by the rest of the state. It’s the same specious argument the hacks made when they bought that bust-out law school in Dartmouth as a place to park more unemployable lawyers in six-figure do-nothing jobs behind which come the six-figure pensions and the free medical care for life.
But of course these new white elephants have only the barest connection to transportation. It’s really about more money to keep the hackerama humming, by paying off contractors and pinky-ring unions who will then kick back to the pols who are stealing the money from the taxpayers.
And the projects will take approximately forever. Remember the state motto: “Don’t Kill the Job.”
We are talking mega-bucks here. That $555 million in the first year would be when they’re giving motorists what they consider a break, by charging a mere .85 cent a mile.
Drivers, it’s just your fair share. Don’t be a slacker. It’s not enough that you already pay tolls, and the auto excise tax, and the 6.25 percent sales tax when you buy the car, not to mention the federal gasoline tax, and the state gasoline tax, which reminds me, another of the new “funding strategies” reported by the State House News Service is “indexing the state’s gas tax to inflation.”
Would it likewise be “indexed” to deflation? Nah. But if something is indexed to inflation, does that not tend to cause more inflation? That’s OK, though, because it means more revenues for the state, and ... for the children.
Remember when Bill Weld was governor and it cost nothing to renew your car registration? Which seemed only fair because, with the new technologies, the process costs next to nothing. First the hacks brought back the registration fee, because their relatives and cronies and cash contributors needed jobs, as opposed to work. Now they want to jack up the fees another $10. We have to do something about the MBTA deficit, they claim, which is another way of saying, paying for the bloated pensions of all the coatholders who retired with full pensions at age 43 after putting in an arduous 23 years of “public service.”
Think about this penny-a-mile tax. The leeches say the average motorist drives 14,800 miles a year, so it’ll “only” cost $148 extra. Of course, if anyone ever suggested increasing medical co-pays for MBTA retirees by $148 a year, that would set off a firestorm. That would be economic fascism.
Suppose you own a trucking company in Massachusetts. Or you employ a fleet of salespeople who spend the week driving from one appointment to the next. If you have to expand, do you think you’d be more inclined to look in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, where the Vehicle Miles Traveled Fee is “only” zero?
It used to be relatively easy to turn back the odometer on a car. With the new electronic systems, it’s surely more difficult, but something tells me that if there’s $555 million on the table, new technologies will be developed. And sooner rather than later.
And I also suspect that a lot more people will be registering their vehicles in New Hampshire. As if they aren’t already.
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