On the front page of today’s News and Observer was an article discussing the idea of taxing the miles driven instead of gallons bought. Apparently here in North Carolina we’re driving more but buying less gas. People must be (like in my family) buying hybrids or more fuel efficient cars. This is a good thing.
The problem is that the state (which has among the highest gas taxes in the nation AND is constantly paving something somewhere) is running out of highway funds. Instead of reducing the amount of roadwork performed in the state (including the do-overs because the engineers fucked up) the state is going to test a program that would fit cars with satellite trackers and send participants a monthly bill. I repeat, the state wants to test a system that TRACKS WHERE WE DRIVE.
It tells each state and local government, hey guess what this guy has been on your roads… tax him! What’s even better is that one of the proponents of the system actually believes that states wouldn’t ever ask for those records or be allowed to ask for them. COME ON! Just because the technology exists for someone to track us doesn’t mean that it should be implemented. Yes, this all sounds like a very nice and efficient system for determining who should be taxed for road use. The problem is that inefficiency in government is what keeps us free. I don’t want the government to be more efficient. If it is, then it can start telling me what to do and how to do it.
How about this, tax people who buy low fuel efficient vehicles more at the point of purchase (15%to 20% more), pave less, actually encourage fuel efficiency among consumers, ticket speeders (who burn more fuel), slightly raise the tax to dispose of old tires and oil (2%) and consider toll roads. All of these ideas seem better than tracking citizens to more precisely calculate taxes. Where I drive, when I drive there, and the route I take is my business and I should be able to keep that secret if I choose to.