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Thursday, June 6, 2013

A New, Progressive Tax That Even Republicans Like

No, there are no typos in the headline. A new tax is sweeping the states, having already passed in both Democratic (Washington) and Republican (Virginia) controlled legislatures, and is on the fast track in states like New Jersey (Democratic legislature, Republican governor) and North Carolina (Republican legislature and governor).

I know, I know, Republicans are the party of "no new taxes" and the Norquist pledge. So I've got to be pulling your leg. But no: Washington and Virginia have both passed new fees on electric and hybrid vehicles because they pay less in gasoline taxes since they obviously use little or no gasoline. New Jersey (see link above) is considering a tax on every mile an owner drives (talk about government intrusion and paperwork!), regardless of whether the car is gas or electric, to make sure that electric car owners pay their fair share for road  upkeep. North Carolina plans a fee of $100/year on electric vehicles and $50/year on hybrids.

If you have seen the story on North Carolina's "Moral Monday" protests, you know that the Republican legislature is passing laws to restrict voting rights and to cut [insert almost any program here, not to mention taxes] as fast as is humanly possible So I have little doubt that North Carolina will have this law approved by the end of the legislative session.

I'm just not sure Republicans have thought through all the implications of these taxes. Most significantly, they are progressive in nature, as they would only be paid by people rich enough to afford high-priced cars like the Tesla and the Chevy Volt. And Republicans like their taxes as regressive as possible, as state after state has reduced personal and corporate income taxes while raising the sales tax

Better not tell them. Their heads might explode.


  1. The federal government gives incentives to buy hybrid and electric cars, and states then tax them. Maybe the Feds should just give the money directly to the states and cut out the middle man -- us.

    1. A lot of the country's problems are due to the federal government pushing so much responsibility on to the states, then not giving them adequate funds. And if there had been more stimulus support for state and local budgets, we would have had a lot less austerity than we did via state and local government cutbacks and over half a million layoffs.

  2. This disincentivizes people from buying electric or hybrid cars. There are better ways to raise money,like taxing the rich.

  3. Remember, though, that one of defining characteristics of conservatives is that they NEVER mind government largesse or intrusion, as long as it is being directed at those *undeserving* people rather than at them. This tax is progressive in that it targets those financially able to obtain and use an EV, but it only affects those *likely* to get EVs (potentially because they care about the environment) and will thus fall primarily on better-off liberals, not better-off conservatives. It's a progressive tax on liberalism, so they're for it.

  4. I agree with both of you Anonymous.