When I covered the Milwaukee County Board for many years at both WUWM and WTMJ there was a member named Gerald Engel (who died in 2016). I recall Engel kept one of those engraved nameplates on his desk that read:
“A Tax is a Tax is a Tax.”
Sad but true, that thought is lost on too many elected pols today.
And a fee is the “F word” for a tax.
Keep that in mind as you continue reading.
There’s no secret that in Madison the powers that be can’t agree on how to fund what some are calling a “transportation crisis,” roads in desperate need of repair.
I’ve mentioned many time in the past here on the blog, on radio and television that legislators and their aides in Wisconsin examine bill proposals and laws in other states and then introduce similar measures here. It happens all the time. And here’s one of them that is horrendous.
WISN-TV Channel 12 committed a flagrant act of journalism, uncovering an important detail the media missed. They report that the Republican transportation plan approved last week by the GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee includes spending $2.5 to study imposing a fee on motorists based on how many miles they drive.
Talk about big government watching you.
This idea came from Oregon, and a former Republican lawmaker who contends motorists should have to pay their fair share for the roads they use. This guy doesn’t understand they already do with gas taxes, license, registration, and title fees and regular auto maintenance.
In Oregon a driver has two options according to Channel 12: pay by the mile fee that would be tracked by a third party, or a higher gas tax. Either way you pay.
Here’s how OReGO works.
A 2017 newspaper report said participating motorists are charged 1.5 cents per mile, whether they live in rural or urban areas.
Let’s be honest. The state of Oregon realizes that there are more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road generating less gas tax revenue. And electric vehicles generate no gas tax revenue. OReGO is another way to tap into motorists’ wallets.
Channel 12 managed to find one voice of reason who said “I mean aren’t we taxed enough?”