State governments are increasingly turning to taxation as a way to raise revenue. From new taxes on gasoline and cigarettes, to increased property tax rates, state governments are looking for ways to collect more money from their citizens.
Many states have also implemented “sin” taxes, which are taxes imposed on products or services that are considered unhealthy or undesirable. These can include taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, as well as sales taxes on luxury items like jewelry and expensive cars.
In addition to these types of taxes, many states have also adopted income tax increases in order to fund government programs and services. This includes raising marginal income tax rates, increasing the number of brackets used in calculating income taxes, and eliminating certain deductions or exemptions.
It's not just the federal government that is trying to steal as much money from us as they can. Our own state governments are doing the same thing. As if we weren't taxed enough already, we're going to be getting taxed even more.
According to The Epoch Times,
State and federal governments are looking for a new way to fund transportation. Through numerous studies by transportation organizations, they have landed on mileage-based user fees (MBUF); vehicle miles traveled fees (VMT); road user charges (RUCs), or highway use fees (HUF). The acronyms all mean the same thing: Drivers pay a tax for each mile traveled.
“All vehicles are going farther on less gas, and that is great for our wallets, especially with the gas prices going up. But it’s not so good when our transportation system is dependent on that fuel tax,” Trish Hendren, executive director of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, told The Epoch Times. “The link between usage and payment is broken.”
The coalition describes itself as a partnership of 17 states and Washington, D.C., focused on connecting public agencies across modes of travel to increase safety and efficiency. Member states in the coalition include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
It's outrageous that gas vehicle drivers are expected to pay twice, both through the gas pump and with the HUF (Highway Use Fee). This is especially true in Virginia, where drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles getting 25 miles per gallon or greater must pay the HUF. But it's not just Virginia. Utah requires all plug-in hybrid and gas hybrid vehicles to pay a Road Usage Charge that can range from $21.75–$56.50 each year, while electric vehicle owners get off easy with only a $130.25 annual fee.
It doesn't stop there though. Oregon bases its vehicle registration fee on fuel efficiency, meaning those who drive more efficient vehicles end up paying more for their registration fees than those with less efficient vehicles, something that just isn't fair.
What makes this situation even worse is that people don't even have the option to opt out of these fees, they're mandatory, leaving drivers feeling helpless and frustrated. And speaking of frustration, studies have shown how resistant many drivers are to mileage fees because of their concern for their privacy as well as a general aversion to taxes. It's no wonder then why transportation conversations around topics like this feel so difficult. Everyone loves using their transportation, but nobody likes having to pay for it.
Even if developers propose solutions such as having a third party keep track of mileage data instead of the government itself, it's still difficult to alleviate people's privacy concerns. The Eastern Transportation Coalition conducted a study involving participants from Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, and New Jersey who were part of a pilot mileage program, and it found that although some were initially concerned about their privacy being compromised, once they got involved in the program those fears gradually dropped away.
This is especially concerning when you consider how badly revenue from federal gas taxes has been decreasing due e to inflation since 1993 (the last time the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax was raised). In fact, according to a January 2022 report from the federal Government Accountability Office it has lost about one-third of its purchasing power since then. But hey...that's their own fault, not ours.