Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Big Wheels and your wheels...

I've always considered driving to be a utilitarian act. I use it to get from point (A) to point (B). Outside of a couple years as a teenager, when gasoline was about a quarter a gallon, and "cruising" was an integral part of the mating ritual, I've spent very little time driving just for the sake of driving.

Even though I'm not an enjoyment driven driver, I do appreciate a smooth road to get me to whatever point I'm driving toward. I also appreciate that roads cost a lot of money to build and maintain, and there has never been any question in my mind that the people who use the roads should be the ones to pay for them.

In their effort to come up with enough money to build and maintain the roads in Wayne County, the county council is kicking around the idea of adopting a county-wide wheel tax. Typically with a wheel tax, cars and pick-up trucks pay a set rate, big trucks pay more, and depending on the demographics of the county, farm machinery and buggies usually get some type of exemption.

I expect there will be a lot of opposition to the new tax. I expect I'll oppose it myself. It's not that it's an unfair tax. Except for the deductions that will be granted, it's probably a pretty even way to make sure that the people that use the roads help pay for them.

The problem is it's an excessive tax. We already pay enough taxes to fund our roads. Every time we buy a gallon of gas, the government gets about fifty cents. About half of it goes to the federal government, and about half of that goes to things that have nothing to do with building or maintaining roads. The state does a little bit better, but not much.

Our neighbor to the west, Henry County, has a well deserved reputation for having atrocious roads. A few years ago, in an effort to remedy the situation, they adopted a wheel tax. According to one of their county executives, about one third of that tax money is being used on current road projects. Henry County still has atrocious roads.

So here's a suggestion. Before you slap us with a new tax, why not try spending the tax money you've already taken on the thing you said you were taking it for. Is that really to much to ask?

I'm sure when the new tax is enacted, the county council will blame the state legislature, and the state legislature will blame Washington, but the taxpayers will still pick up the bill, and then vote the same people back into office next election.

So who's really to blame?



Anonymous crane trucks said...

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1:20 AM  

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