Letters to the Editor

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ELECTRIC CARS: I’m already paying for pavement

Letter by Mike Workman, Olympia on April 1, 2011 at 10:34 am with 27 Comments »
April 1, 2011 11:10 am

Several years ago I converted two gas vehicles (one motorcycle, one car) to all electric propulsion. Since then, I’ve been criticized for not contributing to road maintenance.

These accusations are not true. Over 11 percent of my annual property taxes go to county roads, which I’m on for most of my less-than-20-mile round trip commute.

I also currently pay an annual vehicle weight fee (with my license tabs) that specifically “funds highway improvements, transit and other transportation needs.”

This is a partially tiered flat rate fee. I pay the same fee for my 465-pound motorcycle as someone with a 4,000-pound truck. Who damages the road more, me or him?

This current rate system could be changed to reflect actual vehicle weight (say a penny a pound) and would therefor be a more accurate assessment.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pavement. I don’t want to drive on dirt and gravel roads. And yes, I know that life and taxes are not fair.

If the Legislature is looking for revenue, I have a suggestion. Why are studded tires required to be removed in Spring? Because they ruin the roads. How about a large fee at time of purchase and an annual permit for studded tires.

Now there’s a money-maker that’s fair and makes sense.

Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. truthbusterguy says:

    Whay are you surprised. Democrats tried to tax your water and candy but voters said hell no!!! It was only a matter of time before they would tax the “save the earth” crowd. They did this with no fear because you focus group as a person that doesn’t have a problem with higher taxes.

    The “green” groups tell Olympia everyday to raise taxes. They are only doing as you requested.

    Mike, maybe it’s time for you to change teams?

  2. whatIdid says:

    I like the writer’s idea about studded tires.
    Wait til enough people buy electric cars, quit smoking, give up alcohol consumption…

  3. Roncella says:

    What a Joke !!!! The Dems/Liberals/Greenies are going to put an extra Tax on Electric cars now.

    I thought the Greenies and looney Gore followers wanted everyone to trade in their gas power autos and buy electric cars ????

    What happened to that plan ??

    Let see no drilling for oil, Oh No, no more drilling for natural gas discoveries, no more Coal digging and processing, No More Nuclear Plants,

    I may live long enough to see America go back to the Horse and Buggy days yet, this might really start to get interesting. I always wanted to take a trip across montana and North Dakota in a stagecoach. Move em out, get them going, keep them doggies rolling, Rawhide, Oh Yea !!!!!

    Although greenies and scientists have said alot gas is released form Horse and Cow poop, this might also be very dangerous to our health.

  4. alderscaler says:

    I second the notion on a stud tax. I think Washington should just ban the things. I have lived here my entire driving life (over 30 yrs) and have never owned a vehicle with studs. Like 4 wheel drive, studs just give drivers another reason to feel invinsible. The next time we have very slippery roads, take a look at all the cars in the ditches, most will be 4X4’s. But who am I to complain? As a non-puget sounder I will still be taxes for tunnels and ferrys.

  5. omega629 says:

    A stud tax??? Are you people idiots?? Yes, lets tax something that has to do with safer driving in bad conditions. Next, lets tax life vests on boats, and cars that have seat belts. wow.. i hope you people arent allowed to breed.

  6. Rowdy_Rob says:

    Don’t forget about car alarm permits omega629.

  7. the3rdpigshouse says:

    How about we tax “Stupid” as the majority of the residents in Washington keep electing these socialist democrats who never believe you have sacrificed enough of your earned income and dare you try to save on gas and cut them short on the gas taxes!!! Bad Mike!!!!

  8. I think I’ve got a good solution. If our government wants more revenue I say ALL persons over the age of 18 who ride a 2 or 3 wheeled bicycle on our public roads pay to licence (registration) their vehicle.Also they should be required to obey the “Rules of the Road”

  9. “This current rate system could be changed to reflect actual vehicle weight (say a penny a pound) and would therefor be a more accurate assessment.”

    Another genius fails to recognize the effect on commerce of such a ridiculous proposal as this. And, by extension, the effect on consumers as a sizable chunk of over 4000# GWV vehicles are commercial rigs, and the cost of such a tax would be passed on to the consumer.

    You are going to have to move a lot further off the grid to avoid paying taxes on something, Mike. Best to remember your own adage; “life and taxes are not fair.”

    The tier 1 rate (1 – 4000 #) Mike complains about is the same rate that anyone with a passenger car or light truck (including an SUV) is paying. So if you have a problem with that, Mike, why not suggest your new assessment schedule be employed only for vehicles of 4000# or less. Or, better yet, keep commercially registered vehicles assessed at the same rate.

    And hang in there, you will soon see new taxes on your electric bill, as the pious owner of two registered electric vehicles.

  10. Toll all roads. Only people who drive them should pay for them. Privatize all streets. If you don’t live on my sgtreet don’t drive down it.

  11. klthompson says:

    They seem to want to tax all our indulgences out of existance. Once they succeed in that what is next? Well there is that I suppose.

  12. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    If it wasn’t for Tim Eyman they would tax a lot more that some NIMBY’s green car.

    If democrats want to raise taxes let them tax or eat their young. They are safe the greenies will still vote for anything with a (D) by their name.

  13. I see the something for nothing crowd has gone green……

    Streets have to be maintained. That costs money. Your property taxes are not where that budget comes from. Your electric car being taxed will cost you less in taxes than gas taxes for the average gas powered car.

    Or……all roads must be toll roads or privately maintained.

  14. I would have liked a period of time with no specific taxes on all-electric cars as well as other encouragements for purchasing them. Buyers will have to invest in electric hookups if they live anywhere except Seattle, which got a grant to place these recharging stations in some homes and in public areas.

    I guess they might have to look at a portion of the taxes on utilities to go to road maintenance.

    I sarcastically stated above that we should toll all roads and streets. I received no rebuttal, so I guess people agreed? My real thoughts are that all of us must pay for the infrastructrure that allows our economy to function, and electric car users are no different.

    Just like sales taxes on the internet, different technologies require change in strategy to allow necessary revenue to flow to services we demand from our government.

  15. whatIdid says:

    Why do some of my left of center friends keep getting confused about who the “something for nothing” crowd is?

  16. lawrencejprice says:

    Seems to me there would be a whole lot more tax dollars available for infrastructure maintenance if the federal government stopped subsidizing the gas and oil cartels, and corn subsidizes for gasohol. Why are federal dollars being used for charging stations? Seems to me if the hybrid car industry wants to sell cars that won’t travel far enough to get back home without a charge, then they should be building the charging grid. My tax dollars have no business funding someone’s home charging station, that is just a big steaming pile of it, if it is true. You want to tax something, tax every job shipped overseas. We don’t we stop re-electing government officials who fail to correct the problems they promised to fix after that first term failure.

  17. RE: studded tires

    There are several states that have banned them outright…….I guess that is better than taxing them…..right?

  18. whatidid, your comment, “Why do some of my left of center friends keep getting confused about who the “something for nothing” crowd is? ” is interesting.

    It appears to me that taxedenough and several other people who generally have far-right or tea party sympathies are the ones railing about the state asking owners of electric vehicles to pay for road maintenance, and bBoy and me, who are often accused of being liberal are the ones saying that a mechanism needs to be worked out so the burden of paying for roads is shared fairly.

    Or, is the idea of electric vehicles just considered so “lefty” by the right that anything about them provokes the ideological responses we’ve seen?

  19. whatIdid says:

    “I sarcastically stated above that we should toll all roads and streets. I received no rebuttal, so I guess people agreed?”

    … or didn’t read what you wrote…

  20. whatIdid, you may be right. I am so used to you and others immediately calling me a lefty or liberal for anything I say that I expected the same on this one.

  21. Roncella says:

    tuddo, I just can’t imagine anyone on these posts would accuse you of all the posters as being a diehard liberal ???!!! Whew !!

  22. ItalianSpring says:

    Hey Mike. Just wait until more people go all electric- government will NOT tolerate the decrease in tax money coming in from gas sales. No, my friend. They will raise taxes on Electricity, resulting in any savings by going electric, evaporating : (

  23. Hate to spoil a good rant, BUT ESSB 5251 was passed in both houses with a majority of both R’s and D’s voting for it, and move D’s that R’s voting against it.

    What, some posts just best ignored.

    I_S, the major opponent of electric cars is BIG OIL.

  24. that should have been ‘more D’s thar R’s voting against it’

  25. The taxing of electric vehicles for more money reminds me of the time that people were using too much water,so the powers in office,decided to restrict the usage of water.After the usage dropped and the water Dept. no longer had the revenue coming in they were used to,they raised the rates to make up for the money lost by their restriction of water.This to me seems to be the Typical Politicians answer to a lack of funds.Charge the Taxpayers more for less!I doubt the Politicians get very little sleep anymore,as I feel they stay awake night and day,thinking of new taxation ploys.Also trying to find new terminology for taxes,like Fees.Maybe they would like the phrase,Necessary Services!

  26. SSounder says:

    The writer should do just a little research before putting his name to a letter in a newspaper. Just how much of your property taxes go to roads? For crying out loud how ignorant. You pay more in property taxes to control mosquitos than you do for roads.

  27. … or didn’t read what you wrote…

    Heaven forfend!

    btw…..you must have not read my follow-up to your post that repeated the suggestion for converting all roads to toll or privately maintained. Clearly I read what you wrote.

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