California Contemplating Taxing Travel via Private Vehicle Mileage Tracking

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California is now considering taxing travel. Just as you were about to return to the road, the Golden State of old has decided that it will be taxing travelers. California, which is pushing electric cars, is worried about losing gasoline tax revenues. It is testing a tax-per-mile driven program.

Yes, really.

California, which depends on fuel taxes and gas tax revenue to maintain its roads, is testing the idea of “road charges” that would charge drivers according to the number of miles driven, rather than the amount of gas purchased. According to CalSTA, the pilot program was launched because the California State Transportation Agency estimates that gas tax revenues will decrease in the next few years.

CalSTA officials said to FOX Business, that a law signed in 2021 established the pilot program. The agency stated it could “show a savings to some motorists, under certain circumstances.”

Note the wording: Alternative taxation schemes may even result in net savings for certain motorists, depending on their circumstances.

Color me skeptical.

Participants can earn up $400 for testing the system, but participation is optional. The agency says that participants will be able to experience different road charges and then provide feedback about their experiences to the state. They will have the option to report their mileage using a manual odometer, an onboard device with GPS or without GPS or in-vehicle tracking without GPS.

California is addicted to taxing residents in any possible way.

California does have revenue problems. Governor Newsom turned a state that had a healthy surplus into a multibillion-dollar deficit. California’s roads have become a mess.

Taxing travel, a constitutionally protected right, is not the solution. California’s financial woes aren’t caused by not taxing enough people, despite the opinions of the impeccably combed Gavin Newsom. This tax, which is a travel fee in a state that has people commute to Silicon Valley from the Central Valley for grocery check-out jobs, will fall hardest on those who are least able. While working in Silicon Valley in 2017, I met a young man driving 90+ miles from Modesto, California to Los Gatos to work in the Ralph’s supermarket in Los Gatos. This tax could be destroying the livelihoods of these people.

California’s financial issues can’t simply be solved by increasing taxes. California’s financial problems can’t be solved by increasing taxes.

California will only emerge from its current fiscal mess when that time comes.