Other than, of course, the Rental Inspection Program?
Answer: “A mileage tax” according to the Seattle Times Editorial Opinion by Mariya Frost, this November 14.
Taxing every mile you drive, and inspecting every rental you own, is not unlike an after-Thanksgiving turkey – all will have been picked to the bone.
Why a mileage tax?
The Washington State Transportation Commission’s Executive Director Reema Griffith said, in effect, ‘government is not able to collect enough private data about driving behavior.
Said Griffith of the current situation – the gas tax – “We don’t know who’s filling, what kind of car it’s going in, what your car’s mileage is, we don’t know anything. So we’re kind of blind and it’s just collected and we’re done, it’s a flat rate.”
The mileage tax would ‘fix’ that. The mileage tax would literally “open the door,” get behind the wheel of the car you drive – or at least into the passenger or back seat – not to mention all the meanwhile pilfering your pocket of cash.
Would the gas tax then go away?
(Remember, were talking about the government here), Griffith said – in the same breath – ‘this would be a replacement and not a supplement to the gas tax, although (here it comes) the commission also says the gas tax would likely stay in place to ensure that out-of-state drivers pay for their use of Washington state roads.’
Oh, and then Griffith adds, “If they want to layer on some different objectives for maybe urban areas or to invest in all-weather roads or enhance snow removal on the pass … they can consider different rates in certain zones or certain locations. It kind of opens the door to all that again.”
Wonderful. An open door. And what door – and who is huffing and puffing at that door – is being pried open with this mileage tax? Your door, with government wolfishly leaning against it.
That, opines Frost, is an invasion of your privacy.
“A mileage tax could deteriorate this clear and fair system (gas tax) at a great social cost to the traveling public — potentially circumventing 18th amendment revenue protections, violating people’s privacy and giving government unrestricted power over how drivers’ tax money is spent.”
How eerily like a rental inspection program is the mileage tax? Every mile, every rental. Yet in place already, a clear and fair system: the gas tax. Ditto rental-landlord dispute resolution, likewise clear and fair and in place already: the Landlord-Tenant Act.
At risk with the government imposed mileage tax: a potentially circumvented 18th amendment. At risk with the government imposed rental inspection program: a potentially circumvented 4th amendment.
With both, a violation of people’s privacy while giving government unrestricted power.
“Like a small bird beating about the cruel wires of a cage,” (Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim”) are citizens wearied of escaping the cat-like clutches of government-types intruding into the once-protected confines – be they ever so humble – of car and home.