California Uses GPS Tracking to Increase Taxes
Posted on 1st Aug 2012 @ 11:14 AM
Is the government out to get us? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. But this latest story is sure to give a boost to all the people who feel that the government really is out to get them. In the state of California, the state government is looking for a way to bring in some more revenue, and they thing they found it: their plan is to place a GPS tracking device on every vehicle in that state and charge drivers’ taxes based on how many miles they drive per day. This is a massive invasion of privacy, especially after the Supreme Court recently ruled that placing GPS tracking device on a vehicle without a warrant is an invasion of privacy and completely unconstitutional.
In California, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is the commission in charge of road transportation and is the commission which came up with this idea. According to official commentary, they are looking for a way to raise money for increased maintenance on roads and freeways.
This new initiative is called the “Vehicle Miles Traveled” program, and aims to raise more money for road maintenance. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is sure that by taxing drivers based on how many miles a person drives a day, they will be able to get the funds they are looking for.
The Vehicle Miles Traveled program will be using GPS tracking devices to track driving activity in the nine different counties surrounding San Francisco Bay. The collected data from these devices would then be used by the Metropolitan transportation Commission to determine which roadways will need scheduled maintenance, dangerous areas of driving, and most importantly, it will allow them to determine how much they should tax drivers based on how many miles they have driven.
Of course, all of this depends on GPS technology. So what if you don’t currently have GPS in your car? No problem, says Frisco; they’ll require you to install a “GPS-like odometer” in your car. Then, based on its readout, you can look forward to paying a road-usage fee of up to $0.10 per mile driven.
Now, before you start looking over your shoulder for the black helicopters monitoring your every move, MTC officials rush to reassure: “The last thing we’re interested in is where you go and what you do.”
In a rare outburst of candor, the government says all it really wants to do is “figure out a way to raise revenue.” If the plan is implemented, the MTC could charge drivers as much as $15 million a day.
California’s candor is laudable, but it doesn’t quite ring true. After all, there are any number of other ways to raise revenue and ding drivers for excessive road use with less intrusion into personal privacy. Red light cameras and toll lanes, for example, fit the bill, and give the state insight into where driving is heaviest without requiring drivers to have an electronic auditor riding shotgun.
The most obvious solution — hiking the gasoline tax — could cut down on driving, discourage the use of gas-hogging SUVs, and promote usage of California’s already substantial investments in alternative electric power production for plug-in hybrids.
Of course, then they’d have to admit to raising taxes and not just “revenue.”