Those of you who have purchased hybrid or electric cars recently probably remember a pretty nice tax incentive. Not only has the government been granting tax breaks to those purchasing fuel efficient vehicles but those who have these cars pay the government less gasoline tax as well. Unfortunately for you guys the government doesn’t like missing out on what it considers revenue and the State of Minnesota is looking into mileage based taxation:
The state’s Department of Transportation is recruiting 500 drivers in Hennepin and Wright counties to travel with GPS-enabled smart phones for a “Minnesota Road Fee Test.” The data will be used as state officials consider replacing gas taxes with mileage-based user fees.
It seems the state has a hard on for putting GPS devices in automobiles. If that state decides to go this route I wouldn’t be surprised if inclusion of these devices becomes mandatory (maybe that’s when I’ll move to join the Free Staters in New Hampshire) through legislation. These types of devices would grant the state three major benefits as I see it; the ability to tax people based on miles driven, the ability to track the whereabouts of vehicles for law enforcement uses, and the ability to automatically write traffic violations.
The first item is the justification being used by the states to get the pilot program going. It’s doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see the police using these devices to track where somebody has been. Police have a bigger hard on for violating rights than the politicians.
The second item is the most interesting because it would create an additional source of revenue. A GPS system can be used for many things including determining the speed of a vehicle. With the correct data the device in your vehicle could know the speed limit on each street in Minnesota. The GPS could be used to determine the speed of your vehicle and the speed limit of the street your traversing; if the first value is higher than the second the device can automatically issue you a speeding ticket. And there you have it, instant additional revenue.
Man I miss the days when I was naive of government desires and thought these ideas were just cooky conspiracy theories.