Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Can We Tax That?

This (courtesy of Drudge) is why people are moving out of California.


One of my favorite astute readers strikes again with reason that requires a response. I think everything he said is more or less correct, but my understanding of the marketplace in California is that it is exceedingly expensive to do business there. This won't make it cheaper.

Also, another concern is the less than wealthy. This will force people to look for employment close to home, or to move to be closer to work, rather than having a longer, but still tolerable drive (I used to drive 80 round trip daily from Baltimore to Alexandria VA for 2 years, and it wasn't a huge problem). If it were me, I'd move, just further east, and out of the grip of Sacramento. If their goal is to encourage the use of public transportation, give an incentive to use, not a punishment for failing to do so. Further, the gas tax they have now, such as it is, is a very effective pay-as-you go alternative. You use more gas the more you use the roads.

But the thing that gets me is the whole GPS enforcement. No thanks. I'd rather not announce myself to big brother. California is on the cutting edge of many things. Unfortunately, one of those things is the art of overregulating their citizens and businesses. And enterprise doesn't like to be punished becauce government can't get its financial act together.


Blogger jwb said...

Actually, the main reason people are moving out of California is two-fold: (1) astronomical housing prices and (2) the job-market. That's not to say that high taxes don't also play a part, but I don't think that it is the major reason. See http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-08-25-golden-state-exodus_x.htm

But addressing your issue on the taxes (I take from your negative tone that you aren't a fan of the tax by the mile proposal), I think Milton Friedman would applaud the tax by the mile approach. You pay for what you use.

I would favor a dual approach, part gas tax, part tax by the mile. The gas tax is needed to address the issue of pollution (an externality, unless you favor allowing externalities).

5:03 PM  

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