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North Carolina - Thinking About Taxing mileage
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Again, an example of government's priorities taking precedence over the private citizen's priorities. This time it comes from North Carolina, but trust me, if it is instituted and works, you will see it soon. The problem? People have cut back on driving and their cars have become more fuel efficient, thus tax revenues have fallen precipitously.

Solution? Tax your odometer.
With gas-tax revenues plummeting, the state of North Carolina is looking seriously at taxing motorists for how far they drive.

If the “road-use tax” is implemented, it would at first be simple – with the state checking your odometer annually and taxing you based on how many miles you have driven. But transportation experts say new GPS technology could allow the state to charge people different rates based on when and where they drive, in an attempt to manage congestion.

Talk of a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax has long been discussed as a necessity in a decade or so, because cars are becoming more fuel efficient, and states and the federal government are losing gas-tax revenue.
You have got to love the GPS twist and the necessity of government for keeping track of your every move (Privacy? Fuggitaboudit - they have to "manage congestion".)

IN the era we now find ourselves, taxation is going to get more intrusive, onerous and regressive (again, who will pay the largest percentage of income trying to get to work - especially when they're required to be there during "congested" times?).

George Harrison wrote about it back in 1966 and not a thing has changed since then:
Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman

Don't ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman

And you're working for no one but me
Don't forget that last emboldened line. It is more than metaphorically true ...

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Previous Comments to this Post 

It’s getting ridiculous in NC. I’m thinking about moving.

We also have a fast food drive thru tax. It’s cheaper to get out and walk in to McD’s.

We also have laws that specify that some taxes can’t be used in Western NC even though we still have to pay them.
Written By: Blue
URL: http://
No doubt. NC is turning into the Massachusetts of the ’south’. And they elected the same bunch of goons back in there. I’m thinkin about moving to TN myself.
Written By: Buddy
URL: http://
Dang it! I moved to NC 12 years ago to get rid of high taxes and oppressive government. NC is indeed turning into the Massachusetts of the South. (And no, it is not solely due to us yankees moving here. There are plenty of home-grown liberals here, as well.)
Written By: jjmurphy
"We also have a fast food drive thru tax. It’s cheaper to get out and walk in to McD’s."
HA! It’s sad, but also funny. When will our limits for this be crossed? When are a critical mass of people going to say "enough!"?

Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Personally, I am contemplating a move to Nevada. I’m self-employed so living in NC is really just a pay cut for me. Granted I love the mountains and the ocean.
Written By: Blue
URL: http://
Whoever is considering this taxation has no idea about what creates economic activity: incentive. If you tax the incentive of people to drive to find work, they won’t go and find that work. You tax the incentive of businesses to move the products away from local areas to their state, their region, the entire country, or the world.

Tax mileage? Why not tax breathing? Of course, if hot air were to be taxed politicians would have so much to tax they could close deficits everywhere.
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
my odometer only works part time now. I imagine if they push this through i may give it more time off.
Written By: mac
URL: http://
The good points behind this plan:

1. Taxing mileage would be an approximation of road pricing and would offset the negative externalities of pollution and congestion.

2. If electric cars become the future, taxing gas won’t be very effective and in fact might only be paid by the poor who can only afford older cars.

3. Smug Prius drivers would be taxed despite their choice of a fuel-sipping vehicle. Oh, I guess that’s not a good point but a bad one. Hmmm, by the same token, such a tax might end up reducing the incentive to buy an electric car.

But it is interesting that when private companies feel the heat, we reduce headcount, and try to make more sales. The government simply charges their "customers" more. Must be nice.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Blue, they have mountains in Nevada (at least Northern Nevada). No ocean, but one of the most beautiful lakes in the country.

One question: isn’t a gasoline tax an indirect tax on mileage? I know it’s not perfect, because some cars get better mpg than others. Still, the amount of gas you buy is proportional to the number of miles you drive.

Or they could tax tires.

I’m just saying that the state doesn’t have much business checking my odometer at regular intervals.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
I read about this in our local fishwrap and it made my blood boil. There’s no limit to what those thieves in Raleigh will do to make a buck off of us. We’ve got a state income tax, state sales tax, AND one of the highest gas taxes in the country (IIRC, about $0.42 per gallon in state and federal taxes), yet those thieves need MORE??? I also recall that, when gas prices were heading for $4 per gallon about a year ago, somebody asked Tax Hike Mike (our governor, aka Thief in Chief) if he would place a moratorium on a planned tax increase. Basically, Tax Hike Mike told us all to get bent: Raleigh NEEDS the money.

Need I say that Tax Hike Mike is a democrat (spit)?

Grimshaw, I’m with you: when will people finally say "ENOUGH!" and throw those thieving b******s out??? I’m afraid that the answer is "never", for a variety of reasons:

1. Taxes are often hidden, either by being taken out of one’s paycheck or simply tacked on to the cost of goods and services. Gas in No. Carolina doesn’t cost $1.15 per gallon with a $0.42 per gallon tax: it "costs" $1.57 per gallon. And hey! I got a refund on my state income tax! Free money!

2. People are just accustomed to paying more and more and more. Politicians ALWAYS have a "good" reason to screw us and even make us feel guilty if we resist. "Don’t you want BETTER schools, BETTER roads, BETTER police? Why, businesses will leave the state and people will be out of work if we don’t have good infrastructure and schools!" Or, "Don’t you want those less fortunate to have food to eat? It’ll only cost you $XXX more on your (insert tax here). That’s not so much to pay for helping other people, is it? Or are you just too selfish to help others?"

3. Politicians are also adept at passing the blame. When $4 per gallon gas was hurting all of us, it wasn’t the government who took the blame. Rather, it was the eeeevil oil companies and their "obscene" profits (how much money did government at all levels take in taxes while the oil companies were "gouging" us?).

4. People are ignorant and have no standards of comparison, so it never occurs to them that they are being raped. I was peeved at the high cost of gas last year, but FURIOUS when I drove through So. Carolina and saw that it was about $0.25 per gallon LESS than it was here. The roads in So. Carolina are no worse than they are here, so what in the blue F*** is Raleigh spending all that money on???

5. Politics are no longer local. Most people know who the president is; I wager that far few know who their governor is, and even fewer still know the name of their mayor or state assemblyman. When people think that Washington is the sole source of problems and solutions, state and local pols are free to work their mischief in virtual secrecy.

Oh, and regarding using GPS to tax people more for driving during "congested" periods: how long before some bright boy gets the idea that the GPS can also tell when people have been speeding and ticket them accordingly? "Mr. Smith, records from your on-board GPS indicate that you were driving at 73 mph in a 65 zone at 4:47pm on October 16th of last year. Here’s your ticket."
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
The government simply charges their "customers" more.
We’re not customers of the government. We’re serfs.
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
"4. People are ignorant and have no standards of comparison, so it never occurs to them that they are being raped."


I have been thinking that what we need is some sort of political "unit pricing" like that used in supermarkets for comparison shopping. Some ideas:

1. No withholding tax. Taxpayer pays by check.
2. Income tax due one day or a week before election day.
3. The words "Tax credit" must be changed to "Public Subsidy"
4. Flat tax rate with personal exemption and public subsidy lump sums makes for easy comparison of tax plans.
5. I like your idea of making the tax visibly separate from the price for gas, etc. Make it explicit.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Just a thought: how would North Carolina know where the miles were driven? I doubt very much they could tax people for driving in Virginia or South Carolina. So, if they check your odometer, how will they know where you’ve driven?
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
The mileage tax has also been suggested in Rhode Island. I hope it doesn’t become a trend.
Written By: Hector Owen

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