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A new tax for California motorists


May 14, 2014
After Hawaii, California has the nation's highest-priced gasoline. The reasons can be debated, but at 71 cents per gallon, our highest-in-the-nation gasoline tax is a major contributing factor.

Gasoline taxes fund highways and transportation projects. They are a fact of life in a state as automobile-dependent as California. Nevertheless, our overall high tax rates are frequently cited as major reasons businesses fail or leave California.

A new way to squeeze revenue out of California motorists has just surfaced in Sacramento. Senate Bill 1077 would set up a pilot program to study taxing California drivers using a Mileage Based Fee (MBF). Never mind that the gas tax already taxes mileage; the farther we drive, the more gas we buy and the more gas taxes we pay.

The MBF proposal is being pushed as a replacement for the gasoline tax. It seems too many people are buying energy efficient vehicles, resulting in reduced gasoline consumption and lower gas tax revenues.

Do we really want bloated government bureaucracies to start taxing travel? What about people who live in rural or suburban areas who must drive long distances just to work or go to a doctor? What new intrusive bureaucracy would monitor our travel? Do we really want to start down this road?

The Legislature's impulse for ever increasing taxation must be reined in. Ingenious new ways to tax intangibles like travel must be resisted. California's long-suffering motorists deserve relief, not new forms of torture.

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