The California State Legislature is considering a bill that would tax motorists for every mile that they drive in their car.
Democratic Senator Mark DeSaulnier has introduced a bill that would “test” a vehicle miles traveled tax after a rush to more fuel efficient vehicles has cost the state millions in gas tax revenues.
DeSaulnier says: “We want to do as Washington and Oregon have done in a much bigger sate with much longer commutes… to make sure that we find out whether it would work, whether the public would like it or not. All of those things would need to be determined. We would let the agency determine this because this would be a voluntary program.”
Right, the test will be voluntary (who volunteers to be taxed more?), not so much the next step.
It’s unclear what the tax would be. In Oregon, the test program charges volunteers 1.5 cents per mile.
As you can imagine, even Californians used to having new taxes imposed on them annually are unhappy. Carmen Smith says: “I bought a hybrid… one, because of my drive. I’m very opposed. I drive to Brentwood every day from Burbank, and I am already paying more than I should be.”
Kim Robinson adds: “So if we go on vacation and I drive up to Mammoth, that’s 600 miles. We’re being taxed on vacations?”
But DeSaulnier is unbending. He says “We’ve got to figure out how to pay for infrastructure. One philosophy is, if you use it, you should pay for it. You still have to pay for infrastructure. The car isn’t worth much if you’re stuck in traffic.”
The test program would run until 2017 at which time the legislature would have to approve a bill to make the tax mandatory for everyone.