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March 26, 2006


Patrick R. Sullivan

The Times is really late to the party on this, but I wonder how many of their readers will be even one one-hundredth as concerned over the 4th Amendment implications as they were over the NSA's surveillance program?


Some years ago two articles is same paper-One complained that since interstate highways were built to such a high standard that trucks did little damage and that it would be unfair to raise taxes on trucks and the other said the states in MidWest were encouraging trucks to drive in left lane because the right lanes were wearing out from all the truck traffic on them


Progressive social engineering and the Law of Unintended Consequences are familiar bedfellows.

jos Bleau

I'm tired of underacheiving liberals! What we have here is a failure to think BIG!

Why not create a worldwide system of driving credits - everyone on the planet earth will have the right to drive, say, 1000 miles a year. First world drivers who want to drive mroe than that can buy driving credits from developing country people who will never own a car.

Total driving miles alloted can be decreased every year, a prefect combination of rationing and draconian state intervention mediated by using makert based systems - wiht LOTS of income transfers! Everybody loses.

We'll follow up with air-miles flown, then progress to kilowatt hours used, oxygen molecules used ...

Bill in AZ

I spent a few years in OR. I have no doubt this mind-bendingly stupid scheme will pass and be implemented. And when the OR deficit exceeds previous record deficits by orders of magnitude due to costs of attempting to implement this ridiculous scheme, they will do what they always do - the governor will vindictively blame "the voters" for not passing some highway bond package, and cut the shool year a couple more months to reduce expenditures. That will teach "the voters".

Christopher Fotos

My conclusion is that any group of citizens that allows a central government to plant tracking devices on their private vehicles deserves whatever subsequent tyranny rains down upon their heads.


I think it's hilarious that states keep piling on taxes on autos and cigarettes as they pay out dough to encourage less driving and smoking and then are befuddled when their tax revenue on those items comes in under their expectations.


If this actually passes and I have a new car with the GPS installed,
and I drive across the state line and all the way to SanDiego, purchasing gas in California, paying the CA State taxes of all that gasoline, when I return to Oregon will I get charged for the miles from the last Oregon reading to the new reading?

Will Oregonians be paying mileage in Oregon and State taxes to Washington and other states they may drive to or thru?

Oregon may become the only state where old junker appreciates.

JM Hanes

I've noticed that whenever someone talks about the health costs of smoking, they almost never compare that figure to the tax revenues it generates. It would be interesting to see how the numbers would come out if you include in everything (from agricultural subsidies to employment & wages) on both sides of the equation.


The simple solution, that most states already have, is to make the gas tax a percentage of the price. Since the price of gaoline, as of late, is up so are tax revenues in those states.

The seems like a "Rub Goldberg" project headed for the ashheap of history. Anyone stupid enough to vote for this, should be checked for confict-of-interest with the inventors.


The unrestricted mobility of the people being necessary for the preservation of liberty, the right of the people to keep and drive automobiles will not be infringed.

JM Hanes

Wonder if they included implementation costs in their projections? I can see it now: Oregon wakes up to find that the entire state consists of second homes owned by folks who officially reside in WA, ID, NV, & CA. Well, maybe not CA....


JM: Regarding smoking, it seems to me that back in the 90s I saw something -- maybe at the CATO Institute? -- suggesting that smokers were actually a net *plus* for gov't revenues, because they tend to die younger and therefore collect less Social Security and Medicare money. Of course, no one wants to hear about *that* ....

R C Dean

I foresee a thriving cottage industry in hacking the GPS devices.

I foresee major increases in business for car dealers just over the border selling cars without GPS's, and a thriving gray market in used cars without the doodads.

I foresee a Constitutional challenge to whatever scheme the Oregonians adopt to tax out-of-staters and others without GPS devices - it will be inherently discriminatory, and thus suspect.


Thus further proof that liberal Dems don't really care all that much about the environment - they just want your money.

They heavily penalize gas guzzling with confiscatory taxes 'for the environment' (For The Children) then when revenue falls off as a result we learn it wasn't about the environment at all. Oh, and of course they're surprised that the revenue falls.

Yglesias had a blog post I guess around a year ago wherein he rhetorically asked if there was a level of taxation that wasn't good. He concluded that even 100% taxation could be justified. Yglesias is really a fairly reasonable and intelligent poster for a Lib, so I was amazed he'd toss out such a mind numbingly stupid idea.

Obviously the point at which taxation becomes destructive is the point at which the benefit (revenue) is exceeded by the damage (supressed desirable activity). If you tax something, you get less of it. If you tax it enough you won't get any of it at all. This isn't rocket science and it doesn't take a right-wing lunatic to know that.

For some reason though Libs don't understand this basic fact of human behavior. Either that or they simply cannot face it due to the impact it has on their philosophy. I'm not entirely sure which.

As to the asinine proposal to GPS track every driver in the state, well we'll see if people that are so concerned about the NSA program are as worried about the state actually electronically tracking their every move. And oh, of course, if they do that then people will simply buy and register their cars in neighboring states. Thus reducing the taxes collected from sales and registration of automobiles in OR. And I'm sure they'll be surprised by the resulting drop in revenue that ensues.


My brother says, though, that the consequences generally considered to have been unintended on closer inspection show signs of deliberation.

Barney Frank

Actually JM,
A good portion of Oregon already consists of FIRST homes owned by former Californians who cashed out and payed half as much for more house in Oregon.
Hence native Oregonians intense dislike of nearly all things Californian.


I would guess that the same political ideology that would support the idea of constant surveillance of the polity in order to TAX it would not support the idea of constant surveillance to PROTECT the polity. Rarely do we such a naked exposition of the antagonism of that sort of autocracy.

Now, that's fascism, and the sort of paternalism you wish your mother would divorce.

Jonathan Talbot

For an interesting perspective on state-level 'green taxes' and what they might mean for federal analogues, check out the article here:


Cara Fletcher

I think the installation of automobile GPS systems in each car is a great idea and this may help the authorities to watch for the laws more accurately.

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