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IPFS News Link • TAXES: State

Oregon looks at taxing mileage instead of gasoline

• AP
Oregon is among a growing number of states exploring ways to tax drivers based on the number of miles they drive instead of how much gas they use, even going so far as to install GPS monitoring devices in 300 vehicles. The idea first emerged nearly 1

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Comment by Eva Kosinski (13982)
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There's something ludicrous about spending a lot of time worrying about the environment, claiming to be very sensitive to the needs of the planet, willing to do anything to do the right thing for the right reason, then turning around and falling for the lobbyists and campaign contributors with neat techie toys to sell you all in the name of "greening."

For those who have not yet discovered the link in this sudden (at least in the past 8-10 years) panic to make everyone recycle, drive less, lessen their carbon footprint, etc., just plug "How to sell sustainability" or "selling sustainability" into google, and see how many companies are making a living teaching good activists how to use propaganda to force people into their vision of saving the world. Goebbels would be proud.

Even leaving out the constant drumbeat of the IPCC's first (and by their own admission, flawed enough to have to be corrected) over-dramatization of global warming and Gore's attempt to re-spark his political career using pseudo-science, there are a lot of folks in this country who like to grab a cause and run with it from pure emotion. The consequences are they support actions that fly in the face of what they say they want.

Lots of folks are jumping on the alternative energy bandwagon. I can't think of a better way to dis-incentivize a person's interest in electric or hybrid vehicles than charging them for their mileage. IF the real goal is to get to new technologies for transportation, then those getting high gas mileage should be *rewarded,* not punished for spending the extra money to get the vehicles that pollute less, and actually putting their money where their mouth is, saving fuel and lowering that ever-critical (to some) carbon footprint. No, that's not enough. They have to be forced out of their cars altogether.

But I suspect what's really happening is the technology companies with new toys are using the sustainability arguments to get local and state governments to mandate the use of whatever cool thing they have right now, baldly pushing their financial interests, but couching it all in the name of saving the environment and forcing people to stop driving. They have GPS devices to sell, and legislators to "sell" on the idea that their devices should be installed now, so they can push out their competition by getting *their* product mandated. At its core, it's corporate welfare, but at a sophisticated level, dressed up to look like social responsibility, and those working on emotion alone, can't see past the costume to the real agenda.

Fixing the obvious flaw in transportation (trains and buses only go to certain areas, and those areas are not where people work and need to get to) is ignored, because just following the lobbying is so, so much easier (plus you can probably get a campaign contribution or two next time you run, if you are one of the legislators who gets to vote for these plans).

Emotional responses to fear mongering always take us in the wrong direction. Unfortunately for us, right now the auto industry doesn't have the cash (they chose corporate jets over response to the customer base, so I don't feel too sorry for them, but it is inconvenient that they no longer have the resources they need) to fight back with their own lobbyists.

The other appropriate response, which never gets considered, is keeping government small enough that they don't *need* all that tax money to keep things running. They can stop spending on things like golf courses and recreation centers, and a host of other little goodies that bribe the voters in their districts, and focus on the infrastructure. All those bridges and roads have been ignored all this time in favor of "constituent services" -- giving the public whatever they *want* that will ensure a re-election bid succeeds -- rather than giving the public the core services they *need* that are the true responsibility of good government.