Hey, who’s up for helping Big Brother in Minnesota?

posted at 10:55 am on April 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

With gasoline prices skyrocketing and tougher CAFE standards on the horizon, people will be driving less and using less gasoline when they do.  That’s a good thing, right?  Better efficiency and less driving mean lower levels of emissions, and will help keep prices stable, even if the cars we drive become less safe in order to meet those CAFE standards imposed by Washington.

Unfortunately, as states are discovering, more efficiency also means lower tax revenues as drivers have to fill their tanks less often.  Democrats have proposed passing a mileage tax on state and national levels to counter the dropoff in revenue, but one main practical obstacle is that gaining the data from millions of cars will be expensive, clumsy, and almost certainly unreliable.  Minnesota realizes this, which is why it put out a call to masochists to participate in a pilot program to help them iron out the wrinkles:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for 500 people to test technology that could someday be used to collect a mileage-based user fee.

Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road, decreasing revenue from the gas tax. …

Recruiting for the Minnesota Road Fee Test will begin in May, with research starting in July. Volunteers must be from Hennepin or Wright County. Drivers will be given smart phones with a GPS application that has been programmed to allow them to submit information. Volunteers will get a small stipend for expenses associated with the test.

The research is scheduled to end by December 2012.

In case you are wondering, there is little doubt that Minnesota can find 500 people to participate in this study.  All they really need to do is go into the garages of Hennepin and Wright counties and look for “Happy to Pay for a Better Minnesota” bumper stickers (yes, that’s no joke either) and knock on the front doors of the first 500 they find.  What’s that you say — that would be an invasion of privacy?  Of course it would, but not much more so than tracking systems for mileage taxes.

As I wrote last month, there isn’t any other way to administer this program, although I was writing about it as a national program:

One shudders to think what happens when the IRS gets your annual mileage wrong and a taxpayer disputes the record.  Where were you on the night of April 19th, Canarsie?  We show you drove 6.3 miles to Bada-Bing Strip Club in New Jersey. Even if exact destinations aren’t recorded (earlier suggestions were to use GPS devices), the taxpayer would get hit with a massive bill during the annual tax-preparation ritual with little or no chance to dispute the claims of the government.

Plus, let’s talk about equipment costs, both private and public.  This new tax system would require tracking equipment in every vehicle, which would mean retrofit costs for current vehicles and higher prices for new cars immediately.  What are the unemployed supposed to do — stop driving?  That should help when it comes to looking for work.

The government will either have to use GPS devices (that will track and record destination data) or install tollbooth passes every few miles on every road in America. The IRS will also have to set up an enforcement bureau to ensure that drivers don’t disable their tracking systems.  In California, this meant that every driver had to get biennial emission-control equipment inspections, an expensive waste of time and money for most drivers.  Will the IRS, which is just now branching out into the health-insurance inspection business, add a national DMV bureau as well?

It’s a bad idea on many levels.  At least the gas tax is easily administered, doesn’t involve disclosures of private information, and requires no end-of-year accounting.  If the government intends to enforce higher efficiency standards on drivers, it shouldn’t add a monumental invasion of privacy on top of it to protect its revenue stream.  Minnesotans should resist enabling Big Brother.


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Ah, yes. Soon there will be Energy taxes on homes for gas & electricity used, water taxes based on how much water is consumed, oxygen taxes for the amount of oxygen consumed, carbon dioxide taxes for amount of allotted CO2 sequesteration not met by individual households…

This is a great idea!

Nethicus on April 20, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Here’s the bigger question: why hasn’t the Republican legislature in Minnesota put the kibosh on this already? Does the Minnesota constitution provide for the executive to unilaterally raise taxes?

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:01 AM

No mention of Pawlenty’s role in this uh?

Socmodfiscon on April 20, 2011 at 11:05 AM

You think odometer rollbacks were a problem before? Just wait.

angryed on April 20, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Big Brother is Tim Pawlenty?

Socmodfiscon on April 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM

sadly, it’s not so difficult to implement. and it doesn’t require any new technology. All the have to do is require an inspection of every vehicle annually, record you odometer and compare it to the previous year to find out how much you drove. Then you get a bill in mail telling you how much you owe the feds and the state.

todler on April 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM

OT, sure to be up on HA later:

Marist poll:

Obama 46, Romney 45
Obama 48, Huck 43
Obama 56, Palin 34
Obama 54, Trump 38

Ruh roh.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

All they have to do is order Government Motors to use On-Star information downloaded to DOT to find out how far and where each On-Star vehicle has traveled. Ford has SYNC but the government doesn’t have bribing privileges with Ford.

fourdeucer on April 20, 2011 at 11:12 AM

So in exchange for this program they are going to drop both federal and state gasoline taxes, right? Right?

Mord on April 20, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Here in the people’s Republic of Portland there was an article last week on owners of electric cars who are furious at the idea of being taxed based on use.
Too damn funny. Liberals think everyone, except themselves, pay too little.

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Merry ol’ England here we come!

ATC Guy on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

OT, sure to be up on HA later:

Marist poll:

Obama 46, Romney 45
Obama 48, Huck 43
Obama 56, Palin 34
Obama 54, Trump 38

Ruh roh.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Those polls right now are meaningless. The primaries haven’t even begun and there’s no nominee for the entire base to rally behind. Once that happens, 40-45% of the electorate is immediately in the Republican’s corner. It’s just a matter of convincing another 5-10% of voters at that point(which should be a walk in the park given Obama’s record).

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

OT from the boss emeritus:

(Michelle Malkin) Project Gunrunner update: ATF ignored warnings, DOJ ignores document requests

Tick, tick, tick. Another Project Gunrunner disclosure deadline approaches for the Obama Department of Justice. And GOP watchdogs are hammering away at yet another stonewall erected by corruptocrat Attorney General Eric Holder

Insert witty screen name here on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road

And thereby eliminating part of the incentive for purchasing those fuel efficient cars they desperately want us to buy.

CDeb on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Ruh roh.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM

True Conservatives hardest hit.

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Even if exact destinations aren’t recorded

You think they won’t record exact destinations? They’d love it. “You drove to McDonald’s at 123 Main St. 3 times last week, please report to your local community center for a lecture lesson on responsible and healthy eating.”

There already are pilot programs whereby public utilities get to control your home’s thermostat.

rbj on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Those polls right now are meaningless. The primaries haven’t even begun and there’s no nominee for the entire base to rally behind. Once that happens, 40-45% of the electorate is immediately in the Republican’s corner. It’s just a matter of convincing another 5-10% of voters at that point(which should be a walk in the park given Obama’s record).

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

To me, the interesting thing wasn’t so much about Obama’s chances as it was to who’s best matching up against him.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

This is much easier than anyone thinks.Every state has a yearly inspection system where the mileage is entered.In NY this is done by computers linked to DMV in Albany. The info is already there.All that would be needed is a way to report it to the IRS.Since inspections are grouped by month an owner would receive his mileage tax statement the way he receives a 1099.There would need to be a lag since tax day is April 15.Maybe cars inspected in first quarter pay the tax in the current year.Those inspected after March pay the tax the following year. Big brother is not needed here.I don’t like this idea at all, but it’s easier to implement than it’s been made out to be.

xkaydet65 on April 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Hilarious. Give them a break because they are being ego-friendly by driving cars that run on coal and uranium instead of that evil gasoline.

forest on April 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

First step toward privatizing the road system.
I’m getting really tired of the “privacy” paranoia around here.

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Unfortunately, todler has it right. You don’t even have to have the bill in the mail step. Just X dollars per thousand miles driven when you get the inspection. And of course if you don’t have the previous years odometer reading, just pay for all miles ever driven.

The real question is if this becomes in addition to the gasoline tax or in place of. If in place of, it actually makes sense as you are likely getting a more accurate impact on the roads for the car. If in place of (more likely) then you get a larger tax burden. Of course the next issue is which little piggy gets their share of the money. How much goes to the city, county, state and federal for their share of the roads used?

In Texas, most new roads come in as toll roads or have a toll road component. As an example, I-10 in Houston has 5 lines for free and 2 lanes for toll/high occupancy vehicle (in each direction). The toll portion is supposed to pay for the rest. You want to reduce your commute time, pay the toll or car pool. You want to reduce your commute expenses or drive alone, feel free to do so.

yetanotherjohn on April 20, 2011 at 11:20 AM

To me, the interesting thing wasn’t so much about Obama’s chances as it was to who’s best matching up against him.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

I noticed that as well – even though there hasn’t been a primary to validate Doughboy’s (correct) analysis, Romney starts with 45% and Huck’s not far behind. That doesn’t bode well for our president.

To put it very mildly, Trump and Palin have a lot of work to do.

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road
And thereby eliminating part of the incentive for purchasing those fuel efficient cars they desperately want us to buy.

CDeb on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Forgot to add the “/FACEPALM”

CDeb on April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

To me, the interesting thing wasn’t so much about Obama’s chances as it was to who’s best matching up against him.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Yeah, and look at those numbers. Mittens and Huckster who’ve received favorable media coverage(or at the very least haven’t been trashed) poll the best against Obama. While Trump and Palin who’ve been targeted by pundits and politicians on both the left and right do the worst.

Now tell me what happens if/when Mittens or Huckster becomes the nominee and the Democrat-media complex unleashes its smear campaign on them. Think those numbers will hold up?

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

All the have to do is require an inspection of every vehicle annually, record you odometer and compare it to the previous year to find out how much you drove. Then you get a bill in mail telling you how much you owe the feds and the state.

todler on April 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM

The gubmit has no business checking my odometer, just as the electric company has no business reading my meter a mere 96 times per day.

This does not sound like the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness the founders wrote about.

kringeesmom on April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

I do programming work for a company that provides AVL(automatic vehicle location) services in MN for both private industry and government organizations. This scheme would be a nightmare. Not to mention borderline unconstitutional.

JimK on April 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

All they really need to do is go into the garages of Hennepin and Wright counties

Hold on just one effin minute here. I live in Wright county which happens to contain the reddest district in Minnesota (Bachmann’s) as well as Kline’s.

What you WANTED to say, what you wanted to say was Hennepin and “Ramsey” county, Ramsey as in the most densely populated county in Minnesota and contains the city of St. Paul.

Alright. Change it now.

Bishop on April 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Exactly. In effect, giving any attention to these polls is working to allow the nominee to be picked by the lsm which will then trash the nominee and Hello POTUS Obama.

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Now tell me what happens if/when Mittens or Huckster becomes the nominee and the Democrat-media complex unleashes its smear campaign on them. Think those numbers will hold up?

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

That’s no excuse to start the race three miles before the starting line. It would take months of concerted attacks on relevant and important issues by a hostile media to drive numbers to the levels that Trump and Palin have.

Don’t make a false equivalency. Some candidates can weather media attacks better than others.

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Who, in your opinion, can weather media attacks best?

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Police Officer: “Where are you going ?”

Me: “To the store, I need some milk”

PO: “Our data tells us you have used up your alloted miles for the month … go back home or risk imprisionment”.

Me: “But my baby is hungry”

PO: Boom “How does my nightstick taste now”

Jerome Horwitz on April 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Ed, as one of your neighbors to the south, I have to point out the University of Iowa has already done this. I don’t know if I’m glad we beat the Gophers, or sad at what we beat them at.

The vehicles of 2,500 motorists in Eastern Iowa and 11 other areas of the United States were equipped with electronics that used GPS, a small data recorder, and a cellular data link to track their mileage and transmit it to the research team.

taznar on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

This is so idiotic. They create these complicated credits to give an incentive to people to buy fuel efficient vehicles, and now are creating an even more complicated scheme to penalize people who have purchased them, when there is already a simple proxy for taxing mileage, the gas tax. The more you drive, the more you pay.

JamesB on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

That’s no excuse to start the race three miles before the starting line. It would take months of concerted attacks on relevant and important issues by a hostile media to drive numbers to the levels that Trump and Palin have.

Don’t make a false equivalency. Some candidates can weather media attacks better than others.

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM

How do you know that until they’ve been attacked? Mittens has been hit from the right for Romneycare, but no one on the left has really gone after him yet. Same with Huckster. He’s taken more hits from conservatives than liberals thus far. If the drive-bys went after those two with 1/10 of the vitriol and hate they’ve thrown at Palin the last 3 years, they’d fold like a cheap suit.

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

And thereby eliminating part of the incentive for purchasing those fuel efficient cars they desperately want us to buy.
CDeb on April 20, 2011 at 11:16 AM

That’s about it, though I’m sure some enterprising leftist will figure out a way to make us pay in other creative ways.

Bishop on April 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

To me, the interesting thing wasn’t so much about Obama’s chances as it was to who’s best matching up against him.

Good Lt on April 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

That’s what my first thought was.

angryed on April 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Gotta love a government that has the balls to subsidize “green” cars on the one hand and then tax the crap out of them and everyone else on the other because they use less fuel. Ironical, as they say.

redfoxbluestate on April 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

The rationale for a gas tax has always been that it proportionally taxes road use. But as vehicles become lighter they cause less wear & tear on the roads and as people drive less due to the high cost of gas it is only right that the taxes they pay should decline. Now they want us to pay the same amount despite the fact that the impacts have declined?

DamnCat on April 20, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Who, in your opinion, can weather media attacks best?

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM

There are a few names that come to mind – Cain seems to do fairly well, because he’s using his brashness as a full-on asset, and he’s not “calling out the media” or whatever our code-phrase is for whining these days.

Also, believe it or not, Trump. His numbers aren’t bad because the media attacks him – that’s all self-inflicted harm. If you marry three women and cheat on (at least) two of them, and spout about extracting money from Rosie O’Donnell’s “fat ass,” people are going to think you’re a creep.

KingGold on April 20, 2011 at 11:31 AM

I wonder what the IRS or DOT would do with the smashed remains of their tracking device when I leave them on their doorstep. I hope they’ll recycle.

And yes, I would happily destroy such a device and happily risk prosecution for it. “Throw me in jail!” I’d say. “I’ll make a million dollars telling this story, and you’ll never be able to go out in public again!”

CurtZHP on April 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Of course, I’ll sign up! All the cool kids are doing it. It’s awesome! Obama is awesome!

/sarc <- Is this really necessary?

Fallon on April 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

How do you know that until they’ve been attacked? Mittens has been hit from the right for Romneycare, but no one on the left has really gone after him yet. Same with Huckster. He’s taken more hits from conservatives than liberals thus far. If the drive-bys went after those two with 1/10 of the vitriol and hate they’ve thrown at Palin the last 3 years, they’d fold like a cheap suit.

Doughboy on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

It’s rather telling, don’t you think, that the liberal media hasn’t gone after them.

CurtZHP on April 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

The base mileage check at yearly inspections would not work, because each entity that maintains roads would need to know your mileage driven on their roads (state, county, fed), otherwise you would get taxed by each for all or most of your miles driven. So every mile on US 95 would go to the feds, on NC 54 would go to NC, and on podunk local route 125 would go to the locality responsible for maintenance.

In other words, a huge invasion of privacy. Insurance companies are already doing similar things to reward ‘good driving’ and I’m not sure, but would highly suspect that it would punish bad driving. But again, those are private companies that you engage with at-will

kerncon on April 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM

This is so idiotic. They create these complicated credits to give an incentive to people to buy fuel efficient vehicles, and now are creating an even more complicated scheme to penalize people who have purchased them, when there is already a simple proxy for taxing mileage, the gas tax. The more you drive, the more you pay.

JamesB on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Two things, though: gas usage doesn’t necessarily correspond to how much ware-and-tare a particular vehicle causes, and by taxing it uniformly you don’t get any kind of consideration of where you drive.

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Now they want us to pay the same amount despite the fact that the impacts have declined?

DamnCat on April 20, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Silly rabbit, logic is not for liberals.

angryed on April 20, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I wonder what the IRS or DOT would do with the smashed remains of their tracking device when I leave them on their doorstep. I hope they’ll recycle.

And yes, I would happily destroy such a device and happily risk prosecution for it. “Throw me in jail!” I’d say. “I’ll make a million dollars telling this story, and you’ll never be able to go out in public again!”

CurtZHP on April 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

You don’t really seem to quite realize that you are glorifying theft here. It’s no different than talking about smashing the locks on a department store in order to steel a TV.

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Eh, such a device in my vehicle would suffer periodic brownouts; it would mysteriously stop working whenever I left the garage and start working again when it’s shut off and just sitting there.

Bishop on April 20, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Exactly, the electric cars owners rationale, why subsidize then tax. They think that they are doing their patriotic duty for Mother Earth and they should be exempt from tax. The other thing here is that they want to tax bikes somehow since half the f ing roads are taken up by idiotic bike lanes. But again, the uproar is because they are doing their duty for Mother Earth and our light in the loafers mayor. They deserve to be exempt from tax.
Liberalism is a mental disease, and fits the classic definition of insanity.

ORconservative on April 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM

In other words, a huge invasion of privacy. Insurance companies are already doing similar things to reward ‘good driving’ and I’m not sure, but would highly suspect that it would punish bad driving. But again, those are private companies that you engage with at-will

kerncon on April 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM

I find it kind of funny that anyone browsing the internet is concerned with this kind of privacy, given that every thing you do here can ultimately be tracked by your IP address. You are seriously worried about tracking on your car’s physical location?

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM

It’s a bad idea on many levels.

On many levels?

This insane idea is bad on levels the likes of which only science fiction writers like the late Arthur C. Clarke and the late Issac Asimov could have created!

pilamaye on April 20, 2011 at 11:47 AM

YOU already are taxed on how much you drive, by the taxes on each gallon of gasoline you buy. Don’t be fooled into a double-taxation on the same items – SHAME on your gov’t for fooling you or believing you to be fools.

Above all, these will be tracking devices, following you wherever you go. ACLU, where art thou?

Schadenfreude on April 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

We have so many battles to fight against entities that have amassed power over many years, but one we need to take on big time is the EPA. They are destroying our way of life, taking us back to horse and buggy days – downgrading our cars, changing our electrical appliances to where they are more costly and don’t even do the job any more, no drilling for oil, ban chemicals that we’ve used to kill insects that kill us, plumbing that doesn’t work as well (shower and commodes), now they want to get rid of icemakers, light bulbs that don’t work as well and are dangerous to boot, etc. I could go on and on, but just these few things are setting us back decades in our quality of living. These people are not a majority in this country, yet they control everything. Someone needs to go to war against them, and it needs to be the people. For God’s sake, we outnumber them!

silvernana on April 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM

YOU already are taxed on how much you drive, by the taxes on each gallon of gasoline you buy. Don’t be fooled into a double-taxation on the same items – SHAME on your gov’t for fooling you or believing you to be fools.

Above all, these will be tracking devices, following you wherever you go. ACLU, where art thou?

Schadenfreude on April 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

And the people who don’t use gas aren’t taxed at all.
At any rate, a mileage tax or (if the roads are privatized) charge only makes sense as a replacement for a gas tax, not in addition to one.

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM

I might not mind so much if they actually used the money to fix the roads. California has some of the highest gas tax rates in the country, but it goes into the general fund to pay for more Democrat-designed social engineering programs while our roads look like the surface of the moon. I can tell exactly when I cross the border into Nevada on I-80 because the ride suddenly stops jarring my teeth.

Socratease on April 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Get as many anti-taxers as possible to sign up and have them find a way to skew the data to make the government see that this is unrealistic.

Big John on April 20, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I find it kind of funny that anyone browsing the internet is concerned with this kind of privacy, given that every thing you do here can ultimately be tracked by your IP address. You are seriously worried about tracking on your car’s physical location?

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Not really, all those geolocation ads have me in Atlanta or Ft.Lauderdale, when I’m in central FL. IP location doesn’t work so well for long distance DSL customers.

JimK on April 20, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Seriously, do they want even MORE taxpaying Minnesotans to flee to the Dakotas?

The Fargo and Sioux Falls economies would be the biggest beneficiaries of instituting this law.

Nelsen on April 20, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Put aside the taxing part for a second. What state of mind is there that even spends the money to explore these attachments to vehicles? This is a group somewhere that is actually so DISCONNECTED that they think we Minnesotans would tolerate such a thing or thinks they could implement such a wide reaching item. We are dealing with the delusional here in MN.

Conan on April 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

The very nature of this “solution” proves that the government considers freedom and mobility to be a problem. If they were after mileage, it would only be necessary to check the odometer, not to track the vehicle via GPS.

njcommuter on April 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I have some background in the GPS vehicle tracking field and the declining gas tax revenue is a known problem with no easy answers.

From the commercial fleet side of things, I would be surprised if there was not some government mandate at some point and frankly, with the current technology, the cost – benefit, any company not using GPS to track vehicles is insane.

AndrewsDad on April 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Mn/DOT anticipates a fee on road usage might someday be necessary as more fuel efficient and hybrid cars are on the road, decreasing revenue from the gas tax

If electric cars aren’t paying gas taxes they aren’t paying for the roads they use.

I think this should be a required feature for all electric cars or plugin hybrids like the Volt and future Prius models, otherwise they’ll just be a bunch of freeloaders.

Interesting Venn diagram idea: people who wish to own an electric car and people who think gas taxes should be significantly higher. I bet the overlap is almost 100%.

strictnein on April 20, 2011 at 12:24 PM

The ironic part about all the liberals wailing about the government not doing enough about mass transit is that we would already have much, much more mass transit if the feds hadn’t meddled in the transportation industry in the first place. Without them building the interstate system and subsidizing roads like they do, the free market would have created much more efficient ways to transport people. There’s no way the market would have developed the inefficient mess that is our current road system. Sprawl would have followed private rail lines away from cities like the old Phiadelphia main line.

It pisses me off so much that they want government to fix a problem that govenment intervention created in the first place.

Nelsen on April 20, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I’m not against mass transit, I’m against public transit. There is a big difference.

And I’m certainly against any government putting tracking devices in our vehicles.

Nelsen on April 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

So is this a mileage tax INSTEAD of the fuel tax or IN ADDITION to the fuel tax?

I think I already know the answer.

crosspatch on April 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Poor libs. Still can’t wrap their heads around the proposition that for every action, there’s a reaction. And the reaction isn’t always what you expect.

Gas tax ramifications? Hell, just look at how many states thrive on the tax from EVIL cigarettes. If everyone quit smoking many states would be scrambling to make up the short fall.

GarandFan on April 20, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Hey, who’s up for helping Big Brother in Minnesota?

This is the state that gave us Franken, Ventura, and Dayton….

Their gonna have to turn people away.

BigWyo on April 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

or they’re…

BigWyo on April 20, 2011 at 1:20 PM

sadly, it’s not so difficult to implement. and it doesn’t require any new technology. All the have to do is require an inspection of every vehicle annually, record you odometer and compare it to the previous year to find out how much you drove. Then you get a bill in mail telling you how much you owe the feds and the state.

todler on April 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM

In New Zealand, diesel fueled vehicles do not pay a motor fuel tax at the pump. Instead they have to buy permits that are sold in “lots” of 5,000kms (you specify how many you want to buy and the total is printed out). This permit is displayed on the windshield. If a cop pulls you over and checks your odometer, and you are more than 500kms over the limit stated on your permit, you get fined.

Wanderlust on April 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

This kind of thing happens all the time here. When all of the anti-tobacco campaigns succeeded in lowering the smoking rate, government complains about less money coming in and raised the tax on cigarettes.

Even worse, when we were in a drought and had watering restrictions, Denver Water came crying about not getting enough money to maintain the system, so they increased our rates. We also get punished for higher water usage so a house like ours with 5 people pays a higher rate than a house like our neighbor’s with one person who over-waters and violated the watering restrictions. What conserves more, one house with one yard and 5 people or one house for one person?

I so wish there was a way to go off the grid. You can if you live in the mountains near a water source but not in the suburbs.

Common Sense on April 20, 2011 at 1:59 PM

All they really need to do is go into the garages of Hennepin and Wright counties and look for “Happy to Pay for a Better Minnesota” bumper stickers (yes, that’s no joke either) and knock on the front doors of the first 500 they find.

Sometimes I’m really embarrassed to have been born in Minneapolis. (For the uninformed, Minneapolis is in Hennepin County.)

nkviking75 on April 20, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Instead, perhaps they could consider…merely raising the gas tax? :o

Nah, can’t do that; that wouldn’t create a new unionized bureaucracy..

oddball on April 20, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Not really, all those geolocation ads have me in Atlanta or Ft.Lauderdale, when I’m in central FL. IP location doesn’t work so well for long distance DSL customers.

JimK on April 20, 2011 at 12:15 PM

But what’s more important: your physical location, or where you’ve been on the web?

Count to 10 on April 20, 2011 at 3:48 PM

How about this for an example: I drive 22.5 miles one way to work. 3.3 miles on non-maintained dirt roads and 19.2 miles on maintained highways. How do they take into account the dirt roads. Lots of people I know drive even more on the non-maintained roads than they do on the maintained roads. So how do we get our money back for the driving on roads the county/state have nothing to do with? Even the gas taxes in this case cheat us.

chemman on April 20, 2011 at 5:03 PM

This is so idiotic. They create these complicated credits to give an incentive to people to buy fuel efficient vehicles, and now are creating an even more complicated scheme to penalize people who have purchased them, when there is already a simple proxy for taxing mileage, the gas tax. The more you drive, the more you pay.

JamesB on April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Of course. But this isn’t about what makes sense, it’s about growing government. And it’s very disappointing to find out who was involved in this.

2ipa on April 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

You can file this article under “Creeping toward civil war”.

woodNfish on April 20, 2011 at 7:14 PM