ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Paying to drive may one day become a reality in central Florida. MetroPlan Orlando board members are considering a new pay-per-mile tax system. It’s a controversial proposal that’s getting attention from lawmakers. Instead of being taxed at the gas pump, drivers would pay a mileage fee.Oregon tried to enact a similar tax plan several years ago.
It failed .. miserably! And for many good reasons, not the least in that the vehicle owners objected to the intrusion and the fiscal overhead imposed on vehicle owners.
Oregon and New Jersey are (or were, last time I checked) the only two states in the Union which do not impose a State Sales Tax.
Legislators were desperate for new tax revenue, in addition to the State Income Tax.
The bill was defeated in Oregon, partly because it looked a LOT like a Sales Tax. These taxes hit the low-income earners hardest, because their personal daily mileage are often a larger percentage of migrant, agricultural and low-income earners than of those whose "commute" is often off-set by urban transport. Taking the bus to work may include the same amount of mileage, but is not taxed at the same level as these new 'personal vehicle mileage' measures.
(Oregon's "Agricultural Industry" provides a large percentage of jobs. For example Oregon is the largest provider of Peas in the country. The annual Pea Harvest is a major industry in a few counties, and is dependent on migrant and juvenile/teenage laborers during the 3-month harvest season .. most of whom must drive to the fields.)
But even more burdensome is the requirement to provide some means of determining the annual mileage registered on every vehicle. The two most common methods are an annual review of odometers (subject to cheating), and installation of a "little device" to track mileage apart from the OEM odometer.
Vehicle owners object to this mechanism, both because it appears that the cost of installation and maintenance would be borne by the vehicle owner, and because it is seen as a "Big Brother" privacy issue. Also, the annual 'vehicle inspection' would be not only intrusive, but an administrative burden to the vehicle owners .. who may possess several vehicles.
This is a measure whose time has clearly not yet come.