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Old 04-20-2009, 01:32 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Good and Bad Ideas from Massachusetts




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There are all manner of schemes being proposed to address the needs of dwindling state and federal coffers, many of which often focus on getting hitting the wallets of the driving public. But rare is the state that has two driving-taxation plans as simultaneously enlightened and enraging as the state of Massachusetts. Both have been promoted by Gov. Deval Patrick.

The first of Patrick's initiatives definitely falls on the troubling side: the Governor is pushing a plan - "controversial" would be an understated description - to install Global Positioning System (GPS) chips in vehicle inspection stickers that would be used to tax the vehicle owner for miles driven.

Notwithstanding the obvious "surveillance state" social implications, Patrick's GPS idea - not new to the ever-energetic minds that contemplate innovative methods of taxation - seems fraught with technical hurdles and potential loopholes.

Other states and the federal government have floated similar monitor-your-movement taxation plots. But the notion is particularly unsavory coming from the home state of the Boston Tea Party and the eventual Shot Heard 'Round the World.

Despite the misguided GPS-taxation plan, Gov. Patrick also has proposed his state push forward with a driving-taxation strategy that in effect is a boiled-down version of what should be central to the new national energy policy for which the nation still waits: Patrick wants a drastic increase in the state's gasoline tax.

Gov. Patrick wants to increase Massachusetts' gasoline tax by 19 cents per gallon, reports the Boston Globe. The plan has of course inspired outrage of comparable proportion to the GPS-tracking taxation plan. But the reality is that taxing the fuel is the most efficient and effective way to both increase driving-related revenues and incentivize energy efficiency.

For the gas-tax proposal, Gov. Patrick already has lined up considerable political artillery and has the backing of credible voices of reason.

The sensible arguments for the tax are analogous to those that make the case for a marked increase in the federal fuels tax. For one, estimates from Massachusetts say the poor condition of under-maintained roads costs the average household in the state about $300, or more than twice what the projected hike in the gasoline tax would cost.

The inability of fuel-tax revenues to keep pace with infrastructure-maintenance costs also hits Massachusetts taxpayers with outsized debt payments on longterm bonds required to pay for even baseline maintenance.

But most of all, Gov. Patrick's gas-tax proposal makes his state's debate a microcosm of the larger debate about U.S. energy policy. Until fuel prices (including the portion attributable to taxes) rise to a level reflective of that energy's genuine value to society, the nation as a whole will continue to swill gasoline and diesel at the rates that have required ever-increasing levels of dependence on imported oil - and with that, the myriad economic and geopolitical problems that come with reliance on foreign energy sources.

So a restrained shout-out should go to Gov. Patrick. His GPS-taxation plan stinks just like all those before it, never mind the technology to enable it continues to improve and get cheaper.

But Massachusetts' gas-tax hike indeed is the right course - and could once again allow the state to show the way to a more prosperous future.

Photo by the State of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick talks to state residents about transportation reform
http://www.autoobserver.com/2009/04/...achusetts.html
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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Here's a simple yet effective idea they may have overlooked:

























CUT ****ING SPENDING!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by delongedoug View Post
CUT ****ING SPENDING!!!!!!!!!
No, thank you; we're first world.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Yotsuya View Post
No, thank you; we're first world.
LOL, owned.
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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I interviewed at a hospital in Boston last year....Thankfully I ended up somewhere else (not that Ohio is a tax haven).
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:39 PM   #6
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I might as well link my checking acct right to the Mass DMV website.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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Big government need big paychecks to keep it running. Once any social program, or office is created, it never goes away, and will always need funding. THe only way to pay for it is to increase the tax burden on the public. IF the coffers of the government are dwindling, look for ways to better spend your money. Alas, common sense and government are often exclusive. It would explain our current state of affairs.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:57 PM   #8
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there is a reason why they are called Mazzholes
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #9
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if you live in mass, sorry for you! the govt. now will know everyone of your movements.......or just register all your vehicles at a brothers or relatives out of state.......$%^@ing govt.!!!!

im w/the guy 4 posts up delongdoug......

but i dont have to ever worry about that......id love to see West Virginia try to put these in all our 2nd Amendment loving rednecks trucks!!!!

-mikey
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:30 PM   #10
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there is a reason why they are called Mazzholes
wha? it's m a s s h o l e, and it's due to our driving, thank you very much


here's an idea Mr Gov...legalize the damn casinos all ready and use that revenue to rebuild our oh so lovely roads.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jtree View Post
wha? it's m a s s h o l e, and it's due to our driving, thank you very much


here's an idea Mr Gov...legalize the damn casinos all ready and use that revenue to rebuild our oh so lovely roads.
i didn't think of putting spaces in there
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jtree View Post
here's an idea Mr Gov...legalize the damn casinos all ready and use that revenue to rebuild our oh so lovely roads.
Trust me, it doesn't work that way and you do NOT want the insanity that comes along with it.

<-- Lives in CT.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:22 PM   #13
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Gas taxes pay for road maintenance, if you can't afford to maintain roads you need to raise taxes. Seems pretty straight forward.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:13 PM   #14
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Gas taxes pay for road maintenance, if you can't afford to maintain roads you need to raise taxes. Seems pretty straight forward.
the problem is that MA pays 10X per mile to maintain roads than NH. MA roads are better than NH, but not 10X better. The problem is most of the $$ gets siphoned away.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:19 PM   #15
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If they are going to do this, the public would probably be much more receptive to having mileage recorded at vehicle emissions testing time - not sure about other states but for the VEIP in MD every other year mileage is recorded. That seems like the much more reasonable and less invasive technique. Still, this is absolutely ridiculous, lawmakers need to stop trying to 'hide' tax hikes by breaking them up and spreading them around in 20 different places. If they want more tax revenue just hike up the taxes - be them income taxes or the gas tax - and get it over with already.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:12 PM   #16
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^^The problem with recording miles at vehicle emissions testing time is that not all of my miles driven are in MA; a lot are in NH, VT ME, etc

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the eventual Shot Heard 'Round the World
Indeed. I live in Concord, MA, and today was Patriot's Day, where we celebrate the beginning of the war for independence. The GPS thing is just nut for a variety of reasons; raising gas taxes makes much more sense.

Oh, and yes wasteful spending here is out of control. I give Gov. Patrick credit for trying to deal with some of it but its still outrageous.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:05 PM   #17
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Patriot's Day is weird; my last employer was headquartered in Boston yet we had the day off in Chicago. Sadly they (and my current employer) don't recognize Pulaski day, the local equivalent when city offices and schools shut.

MA has much better roads than Illinois, plus at least one cop at each construction area. I'm jealous of that kind of attention. It beats leaving 20 miles of lane closed off for an entire summer with no visible activity.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:32 PM   #18
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at least one cop at each construction area
That's required by state law and is a huge waste of money. AFAIK every other state and province allows ordinary workers to direct traffic at construction sites.
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