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California Considers Tracking Your Car 902

Posted by samzenpus
from the know-where-you-go dept.
dan_sdot writes "California's budget problem has led the state to consider desperate measures: taxing you based on how much you drive. The only problem is the way they propose to do it. California is now proposing to put GPS devices on all new cars to track how far people drive and tax them accordingly."
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California Considers Tracking Your Car

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  • Via the very large tax on gas?
    • by cephyn (461066) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:21PM (#10848391) Homepage
      Did you read the article? oh wait, I'm not new here, so no, you didn't.

      Since a prius will drive much further on a tank than a person in an H2, if both individuals drive 100 miles, the person in the H2 pays significantly more in taxes. They're proposing to change the system so that its based on how far you drive, not how much gas you use.
      • Wait a sec ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlad_petric (94134) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:28PM (#10848479) Homepage
        Shouldn't efficient cars be encouraged ?

        This proposal will have the opposite effect

        • Re:Wait a sec ... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sancho (17056)
          Not entirely. You still have to buy gas.
        • Re:Wait a sec ... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IAmMaxHarris (750973)
          No.

          The proper role of government is to preserve the constitutionally-limited negative (which do not require the enslavement of others) rights of citizens.

          The government has no business encouraging or discouraging any legal activity. Such "encouragment" necessarily violates the rights of someone.

        • it won't have an opposite effect, it would hit people equaly.

          And yes, its nice to encourage people to by efficent cars, but they shouldn't need added encouragement, since the car using less gas is their encouragement.

          Anyways. You forget road wear, no matter what your milage is, your still putting wear and tear on a road, and clogging it up and so forth. If you drive a whole lot, your using that system more then those who don't use it much. Maybe a person has a car that gets 1 mpg, but only drives to ch
          • Re:Wait a sec ... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dr. Spork (142693)
            An SUV with knobby tires puts a lot more wear on a road that a prius. A good rule of thumb: the more gas it uses, the more damage it causes.

            But I agree, it's stupid to tax gas. Poor people buy almost as much gas as the super-rich, so most of the gas tax is paid by them.

            Here's an idea: How about a progressive income tax?

            • Re:Wait a sec ... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by demonbug (309515) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:05PM (#10849407) Journal
              As far as wear and tear on roads, passenger vehicles and light trucks (including SUVs) are generally responsible for a miniscule portion of road wear. The VAST majority of road wear due to vehicle travel (as opposed to weather/expansion/settling/etc.) is from large trucks and buses. A fully loaded semi has up to about 10,000 times the impact of a passenger car (more commonly in the 500-2,000 range) as far as road wear goes.
              The big issue is not paying for road wear (if we based taxes entirely on road wear due to vehicle use every trucking company in the country would be taxed out of business over night) caused by vehicles, but rather the road capacity they necessitate. A semi needs about 2-3 times the capacity (space) of a passenger car; passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks, etc. basically require the same road capacity. The purpose of this GPS system (which seems overly intrusive to me, even if it does make a lot of sense in many respects) is to base taxes on the actual cost incurred by a car - not for repairs due to wear inflicted by the car, but costs incurred by building and sustaining a road system with enough capacity to handle the traffic. The vast majority of maintenance work done on roads is not due to traffic volume, it is due to natural processes like weathering. Larger, higher-capacity roads cost more to build and maintain than smaller roads. From this perspecitve it makes a lot of sense to tax people based on how much they drive (how much capacity they use) rather than how much gas they use (which, as far as road wear and capacity goes, has little do do with the costs incurred).
              In my opinion we shouldn't be looking at reducing gas taxes (they should and do provide an added incentive for people to drive more efficient cars), but it is reasonable to look at other criteria for basing taxes on as well. This GPS is just way to invasive; law enforcement already uses things like FasTrak passes to track people's movements, you know that they aren't going to be able to help themselves from getting hold of the GPS data (and in many ways it would be their responsibility to do so).
          • Re:Wait a sec ... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Engineer Andy (761400) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @11:13PM (#10849859) Journal
            The traffic engineering paper I took at university informed me that 90% (or thereabouts) of pavement wear comes from trucks, and that pavement would last a very very long time if heavy trucks did not use it.

            I may well be wrong as I'm not practising as a traffic / pavement engineer, but your regular corolla / family sedan is not the culprit in wearing out roads
      • by IdahoEv (195056) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:38PM (#10848625) Homepage
        The article claims this is because of the danger that hybrid cars will eat into the tax income, since they consume less gas and therefore don't pay as much tax.

        But the fact is that very few people drive such hybrids, even in California. Far more Californians drive gas-guzzling SUVs; a drive through LA used to surround you with Ford Explorers, but now those seem to be outnumbered by the much larger vehicles like Expeditions and such. A gas tax is a better way to collect income and provide a market incentive to reduce air pollution (as opposed to a regulation, like smog checks, which are expensive to enforce and provide an incentive to cheat rather than to conserve).

        So really, this is just a proposal to make sure that people who actually switch to efficient technologies keep subsidizing those who don't. It's completely retarded. It is not only counterproductive to the desire to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution, but requires that the state spend an additional $100 per car just to implement.

        Expensive + counterproductive to societal goals = bad government. Bad government! No cookie!

        Dumb dumb dumb dumb....

      • this seems somewhat on topic. I found this article from 1995 (!) about a new electronically controlled valvetrain system that would increase fuel efficiency by at least 10%
        http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9510/cleaner_engine/ [cnn.com]

        here we are 10 years later and no production cars come equipped with such a system, nor is there anything like it in the after market. The details of it seem simple enough, prototypes have been demonstrated to work well and manufacturing costs as well as tcoo are lower than the current line o
        • It's not all about efficiency - mechanical valves, cams, and timing belts are extremely reliable mechanisms in ICEs that have been refined over decades. Electric valves and all the high power, complex electronics behind them just aren't proven. Even if they came out in production cars tomorrow, I wouldn't buy one for at least 5-10 years. Why? They're not proven reliable in the long run.

          While I'd like fuel efficiency (hence the reason I have and usually drive a 95 del Sol - nearly 40 mpg with no exotic
      • I didn't RTFA either, but I don't think they will eliminate or cut taxes on gas, so maybe the system will be based on how far you drive PLUS how much gas you use...
    • by Rufus88 (748752) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:23PM (#10848404)
      No, see, the problem with this suggestion is that it fails to take into account differences in fuel economy. The gas tax unfairly favors those who drive energy-efficient cars, and unfairly burdens the folks who exercise their god-given right to drive Hummers and SUVs. We need a mileage tax that levels the playing field.
      • When will we learn that punitive taxation levied upon groups that we happen to personally disagree with solves nothing, because it just gets the government in the habit of punitively taxing people, and sooner or later we will be the ones being taxed on something that we really want or need. Bad idea all around. That kind of sledgehammer social engineering I can live without, thank you very much.

        No, the problem isn't the SUV or the Hummer or the people that drive them (who I personally detest because mo
        • In this country, you obey the laws of thermodynamics.

          Technology can't break the laws of physics.

          - There's no way to get around the carnot efficiency in a heat engine. Maybe if billions of dollars were invested into a hydrogen economy you might be able to get up to 40 percent efficency with fuel cells, but if the hydrogen comes from fossil fuels and you account for the losses in the H2 production process, you're better off sticking with internal combustion engines.

          - THere's no way of avoiding newton's se
        • by RandomCoil (88441) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:52PM (#10849303)
          You've hammered away at taxes on gas but argue that CAFE-like legislation is the right direction. Consider this counter argument:

          Increasing the fuel efficiency of cars through CAFE-type legislation decreases the cost/mile required to operate them. This does not provide any incentive for a vehicle user to travel a shorter distance, rather it allows them to travel further. Legislation like CAFE alone does not work because it does not hit the end user, the consumer, in the one place where she or he will feel it: the pocketbook.

          A gas tax is a better solution in a market-driven economy. It hits the end-user where they will feel it and creates a new demand, in this case for fuel-efficient car. There's a reason that small Japanese cars became popular in the 70's and it sure as heck wasn't fuel efficiency related legislation.

          The government doesn't need to "tell" to megacorporations anything in this case: they'll go where the money is, whether it's in H2's or hybrids.
          • "This does not provide any incentive for a vehicle user to travel a shorter distance, rather it allows them to travel further."

            Nah...if that were happening, we would see people moving farther and farther from the cities. First, into suburbs and then even farther, maybe to something called an "exurb." Obviously that isn't happ...

            Oh, wait. It is.

            If a gas tax causes unfairness (because the poor buy as much gas as the rich), it can always be fixed by rebates (possibly means tested but not necessarily).

            A
    • by ke6 (96078)
      The way it was said on the morning radio, KROQ's Kevin and Bean, was that this was coming about because too many fuel efficient cars meant the amount of monies recieved from gas taxes was reduced. So by taxing the number of miles driven a year, they can more accuratly pay for the roads.
      • by yog (19073) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:47PM (#10849271) Homepage Journal
        Yes, that's what the FA says. The problem is that it is a poor basis for raising revenue that perpetuates unfairness. (That's leaving aside the enforceability issues and the simple cost of installing this monstrosity.)

        Consider, for example, how some municipalities make millions of dollars a year from parking fines. In Boston, that's traditionally been a major revenue source, and meter cops were encouraged by quotas to overinterpret the law and nail people who were 12 inches out of compliance with distance to the curb, or 1 minute overdue on their meter, etc. (This only began to subside a bit in the late 1980s after the infamous case of a driver in Boston who pulled over, fell out of his car, and lay on the sidewalk having a heart attack; as you can guess, a traffic cop proceeded to ticket his car WHILE HE WAS LYING THERE and the whole sorry scene was captured in a photograph for the Boston Globe's front page.)

        Anyway, just because cities and towns develop a dependency on this form of revenue does not mean it is a fair or proper way to raise money. In fact, it encourages people to have contempt for the law and for the law to have contempt for people. Stupid, stupid.

        We already pay an enormous amount of taxes to keep our cars on the road. Initial sales tax (in most states), annual excise tax based on the value of the car, automobile insurance which is highly regulated and taxed in most states, gasoline sales tax, tolls, license plate renewal fee, drivers license renewal fee, and speeding and parking fines. No doubt I'm forgetting a few things. Ted Kennedy's luxury tax if your car is > $100K?

        I believe that gasoline actually should be taxed much more than it is. Go ahead, California; raise the gas tax to $1 a gallon. It's regressive taxation, admittedly, especially for contractors who have to drive vans and pickup trucks and the like, but overall it will help spur the adoption of alternative fuels such as corn-based methanol and coal- or solar-based hydrogen, which will be tremendously beneficial long term. And dare one mention public transportation? Cities without practical bus and subway systems--well, the voters should face the music and ante up for these programs, because as the boomer population ages it's going to become ever more important. Twenty years from now there are going to be about 90 million 75-year-olds out there driving; look out, world.

    • by dbond (591005) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:23PM (#10848408) Homepage
      Talk about overengineering! If gas/petrol was taxed higher, they could avoid this completely. I suspect what they really want to know is who's where when and how fast they are going. So the can fine you. 'Cos you speed. Just like everyone else. David
    • A tax based on how far you drive does make a certain amount of sense (ignoring the method used), in that tax-payer money goes to building and maintaining roads. However, as someone who drives a high MPG car (Honda Civic), I admit that I prefer methods that target gas guzzlers disproportionately. Of course, one could also argue that gas guzzlers tend to do more harm to the environment, etc., and should pay more, but then that kind of sounds like they're buying the right to poison us.

      Of course, what it rea

    • Exactly. And if they really wanted to tax "time on the road" rather than "fuel burned", couldn't they ask you to report your vehicle's mileage on a yearly basis? Areas with emissions testing (California?) already report mileage; it shows up in online VIN reports. Sounds somewhat less intrusive.

      • Doesn't work if you EVER drive out of state. You need GPS to ensure that you only tax people for the time spent on YOUR roads.
      • couldn't they ask you to report your vehicle's mileage on a yearly basis?

        My state is toying with this too. The problem is that they don't have a legal right to tax you for time you drive on your private roads or more importantly, out of state. I live on the border of Washington & Oregon, so without either some kind of border crossing monitoring station, or a GPS system, they can't know when I'm actually driving in the state.

        If this is such a grave issue, then we should just raise the gas tax overal
  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:18PM (#10848344)
    I will never understand why we passed Proposition 71 which calls for three billion in bonds over the next few years to fund stem cell reasearch given that our state is broke. Ah well, I dont drive so I guess I dont much care.
    • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@highpoin[ ]du ['t.e' in gap]> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:28PM (#10848477)
      OH, but you should care. Pretty soon they'll be tracking your computer to see how much the heat generated by it affects global warming. Okay...that's a bit far-fetched, but I'm sure you get the idea. The more power you let them have, the more they'll try to take. They act like a bunch of drug addicts, high on authority.
    • That was all about people expressing that they believe in Stem Cell Reseach. Most people were under the impression that the President Bush was outlawing stem cell research. When instead, he was limiting federal funding based on right to life concerns.

      I'm all for stem cell reasearch, but highly aginst pork-barrel research programs which seem to be concerned with garnering more research money.

  • Cue GPS hackers... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mOoZik (698544) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:18PM (#10848346) Homepage
    Right. Then we'll get a few smart people to develope a means of faking the mileage and paying next to nil. Not only will it not work, but it's not fair. I live in CA and am frankly sick of all the car-related restrictions that we have to abide by!

    • by ForestGrump (644805) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:27PM (#10848475) Homepage Journal
      And in 5 years when you trade in your car.
      Dealership: Your odometer says you have 100k miles.
      You: Yea, so appraise me for 100k mile then.
      Dealer: But your in-car GPS reports 20k mi.
      You: oh cra...oh, blame the aftermarket wheels. screwed up the circuference.
    • by MemoryAid (675811) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:58PM (#10849768)
      For once, a tinfoil hat will actually come in handy...for the GPS antenna. Just cover the latter with the former to block the signal, and it won't be able to receive the satellites. That should probably just be done for the long trips, leaving it uncovered for believable mileages near where the man thinks you live.

      Disclaimer: I may or may not live in California.

      • Didyou look at the image linked in the article header, that shows how Oregon proposes to implement such a system?? It seems to be saying that whenever you fill up with gas, the Service Station will interrogate your car for a mileage report. The simple fix for that system, for people living near enough to the state line, would be to drive out-of-state to fill up. And take a couple of 5-gallon gas cans along as well, in case they get caught short too far from the state line...
    • by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:20AM (#10851083) Homepage Journal
      I know it's a radical idea, and won't catch on with the american dickheads who think it's god's will to drive a humvee, but here's a tip: TAX THE FLAMIN PETROL PER LITRE! It's not hard, you can't cheat it as easily as messing with something in your car, it actually taxes the people causing the problems, etc etc etc.... Ferchrissake.... GPS??? Solution in search of a problem much?
  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:19PM (#10848347) Homepage
    Yeah, I got a letter about this one a few days ago:

    --------

    State of California
    1 Aahnold St.
    Sacramento, CA

    Dear Skyshadow,

    While we in the state of California appreciate your interest in our state and the contributions you've made while living here the last fours years, it has become increasingly apparent that you're not getting the message. So, let us be direct:

    Get the hell out.

    Frankly, all of you refugees from Jesusland are seriously overpopulating our state, and we can't afford it anymore. We figured you might have gotten the hint after we destroyed our public school system with Prop 13. We thought you would have put it together when we started referring to pet owners as "guardians" like they were our fucking kids or something. And, really, we're stunned that electing the guy from "Commando" as our governor didn't make you reassess living here.

    C'mon, how much is nice weather, a neat bridge and decent wine really worth? A crappy 900 sq. ft. house in Walnut Creek with a postage-stamp sized yard is a steal at $400k because of all you idiots flooding in! Go home!

    Anyhow, by now we're sure you've read about our plan to implant a GPS tracker on your car and tax you for every mile you drive. We're proud of that one -- we know you're driving an hour each way to and from work because of the sky-high housing prices around the Bay Area (again: your fault), and we figure that nicely conveys our point. And frankly, if this doesn't get our message across, we're going to have to resort to simply grabbing you out of your bed in the middle of the night and feeding your to that Great White we have on display down in Monterey. Don't think we won't. Hell, we'll feed her your goddamn cheesehead cats, too. Try us.

    Move back to Wisconsin. We're not kidding.

    Love, California

  • What's next,.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GestaltPhoenix (821190) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:19PM (#10848348)
    taxing walking to cover pavement depreciation? this kind of stuff scares me...
  • GPS Blackbox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:19PM (#10848353) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be easier and less privacy-intruding if there's a blackbox in the car with GPS, which determines if the car has crossed a state line, and record mileage accordingly?

    This way car owners can go to a fee-station any time to pay whatever tax whatever state wants to charge per mile travelled.
  • by Mad Martigan (166976) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:19PM (#10848364) Homepage
    So, does that mean that if I run my car in reverse, the state will start sending me checks? Hmm, no ... that doesn't sound right ...
  • Hrmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spin2cool (651536) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:19PM (#10848367)

    Shouldn't this one be filed under "Your Rights Offline?

    Just saying is all...

  • by cloudkj (685320) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#10848369)
    A good prank would be to somehow remove the GPS device from your friend's car, pack it in your bag, and go tour the world and fly to places like Europe or Asia. Uncle Sam would be mucho happy :D
  • For once... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poofyhairguy82 (635386) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#10848371) Journal
    I was happy I live in Texas instead of California. At least here, we only obsessively track our children. [slashdot.org]
  • Odometer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rufus88 (748752) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#10848374)
    Why not just report your odometer reading each year? It could even by done by the service station that performs your annual inspection.
    • Re:Odometer (Score:3, Informative)

      by El (94934)
      Because they only want to bill you for the miles you actually drove within California, not the trip you took to New York...
    • Re:Odometer (Score:3, Informative)

      by physicsnerd (607860)
      Because that assumes that you only drive in California. Which isn't a bad assumption for most people in California. However, a good chunk of my driving is cross country. I may put 5,000 miles on my car in california and another 10,000 miles out of state in a year. I'm sure that there are many other people in my situation.
    • Re:Odometer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:31PM (#10848529)
      > Why not just report your odometer reading each year? It could even by done by the service station that performs your annual inspection.

      California is only entitled to tax you for miles you drive in the state of California. The minute you cross the border into Nevada, Oregon, or Mexico, you can't be taxed.

      Therefore - if you're going to tax by the mile, you must use a GPS tracking device to ensure that only miles taxable within your jurisdiction are taxed. Otherwise you're one judge's gavel away from having your tax law thrown out. Don't fuck with the Interstate Commerce Clause.

      Of course, taxing by the mile is an asstastic idea to begin with - but even in the "green" People's Republic of Kalifornia, it doesn't matter how green the idea of "tax the H2 more than the Prius" might be... the only green that matters to a politician is the color of his subjects' money. (and/or the money of the GPS device manufacturers' lobby :)

      • Re:Odometer (Score:3, Informative)

        by mark-t (151149)
        How are they "entitled" to anything?

        If the roads are costing the state too much to maintain, and they don't want all residents to shoulder the burden equally, then they need to increase the tax on gasoline... plain and simple. People who do sufficient amounts of their driving outside the state of Calif. will probably be able to regularly fill up outside the state and therefore won't have to pay the higher taxes.

        Not that I'm a proponent on high gasoline taxes, but only someone without the slightest grip

      • by Agent Green (231202) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:11PM (#10849461)
        Isn't this the kind of stuff that gasoline taxes are supposed to take care of?? Since most of populous CA is nowhere near a state border, just raise that. The best part of this, is that if you don't drive, you don't get taxed directly. Who needs more technology for this?

        And this will sorely punish the SUV owners that the tree huggers keep bitching about simply by virtue of fuel usage. So, in a way, you are getting taxed by the mile and for having an eco-unfriendly car.

        Granted, the whole idea is utter bullshit to begin with...
    • Re:Odometer (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nbert (785663)
      That's a good idea, but there are various ways to manipulate this device. From the good old days when a borer was all you needed to get past 999999 to digital odometer manipulation, which requires more knowledge, but some people make a living out of it for sure... But I guess manipulating GPS devices isn't much harder. I bet that transmitters, which outshine regular GPS signals, will be in stores ~3 months after this bill is passed.
  • by wembley (81899) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:20PM (#10848376) Homepage
    Who has to drive the furthest? People who can't afford to live in the houses they clean. People who run small businesses and have to deliver product themselves. People who deliver pizzas.

    This really won't bother your Hummer drivers. They are already getting hit with gas-guzzler taxes.
  • by Jonas the Bold (701271) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:22PM (#10848394)
    California being in debt is a huge problem, gets lots of attention, in need of desperate measures and so on, but the federal government being MASSIVELY in debt isn't.

    Is there a reason for this or is it just because republicans haven't been successful with the federal budget? (not trolling)
  • by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@@@remco...palli...nl> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:22PM (#10848395)
    In the Netherlands they tried something similar a few years back. It stranded long before implementation. And since the American populace loves to drive and loves their cheap gass price, I don't think that the government will be able to do this successfully. (Pardon my typos and possible bad grammar, I'm dutch, so english isn't my first language)
    • by zakezuke (229119)
      And since the American populace loves to drive and loves their cheap gass price, I don't think that the government will be able to do this successfully

      It's not so much the fact that we love to drive. It's the fact that we lack useable public transportation. Many cities had fabulous rail and light rail systems 100 years ago but in our wisdom they tore up the tracks. For many of us, the car is the only option.

      That being said, only a complete moron would even consider taxing a car that weighs in over 300
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:22PM (#10848397) Homepage
    Can they figure out any OTHER way to try to drive out business out of this state?

    We have some of the highest sales tax, the highest standards of living, permits are required to do anything short of wiping my ass and whacking off.

    I propose a tax on ravers. We have enough of them. San Francisco could wipe out our debt in and of itself. It's simple to do it too: if the number of dead glowsticks in your apartment/mom's basement weigh more than your furniture, you get taxed. They certainly have the money for it. If they can afford those E hits....

    Just a thought,

    Joe
    • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:45PM (#10848718) Homepage Journal
      Once we can tax people for having to live out in cheaper areas because they make too little money to afford a home downtown, we can move onto bigger and better things:

      We should tax all LLCs 110%. I'm tired of having small businesses that sell furniture, dialup internet, food and liquor. Also I'm sick of all those icky poor people these kinds of places seem to attract.

      Also it would be nice if we taxed trucks $1/mile, since they pollute the most, cause the most road wear and deliver things to stores like Wal-Mart. Also truck drivers dress like poor people.

      Also we should require additional taxes on bottled water imported to the state. I'm tired of seeing ugly people drink the same brand of water as I do. The milky white city water should be plenty good enough for them.

      We should also tax mops and other cleaning supplies. There are a lot of janitors that aren't paying their fair share. We can use these funds to create a wildlife preserve to protect animals from Lysol.

      If that doesn't drive out all the poor people, I don't know what will. (if you didn't notice, California's state goverment hates poor people)
  • Arnold will tax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grolaw (670747) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:24PM (#10848419) Journal
    how far you drive, how long you f**K and anything else he can. How nice that the democrats aren't to blame for this abomination.

    Time to expose the 13-car owner 'govner for what he is - aggressively hostile to everything the average guy or gal needs.
  • Sort of (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:25PM (#10848437) Journal
    Taxing people based on how much they drive is a good idea (because as it stands, the costs of driving are highly externalized -- e.g. the people getting the benefit from driving more are not necessarily the ones paying for it), but there's no reason the mechanism for tracking needs to store any personal info. It's entirely possible to come up with a system for tracking how much you drive, without tracking where you drive.

    Nonetheless, rather than tracking your mileage, I'd much rather see gas taxes increased so that the more you drive, the more money the state gets for road maintenance, mass transit, etc. Right now, gas taxes are a fixed number, rather than a percentage of the gas price. You could also include the cost of auto insurance in the gas price, so that everyone's automatically insured to some required minimum, and then you could get more insurance on top of that if you wanted it, rather than the situation now, where it's illegal to drive without insurance (in California) but millions of people, mostly immigrants, do it anyway.

    This would also put more of the burden on vehicles that get worse gas mileage, which also tend to be larger, heavier, cause more road wear, are more dangerous to other vehicles, and emit more pollutants.

    And of course, people in the U.S. (and especially Southern California, where I live) are so obsessed with being able to drive wherever you want, whenever you want, and not having to pay for it (even though someone has to pay for it!), that they fight gas taxes tooth and nail even though proper application would reduce traffic (by providing more transit options). Europe has the right idea.
  • by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@@@remco...palli...nl> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:25PM (#10848447)
    In the Netherlands they tried something similar a few years back.

    It stranded long before implementation.
    And since the American populace loves to drive and loves their cheap gass price, I don't think that the government will be able to do this successfully.

    (Pardon my typos and possible bad grammar, I'm dutch, so english isn't my first language)
  • by bradley_earl (802268) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:25PM (#10848450)
    wouldn't it be easier to just tax gas at the pump at a higher rate? while it wouldn't would equate to equal taxes per mile per person (because of mileage variations), it would seem a lot less obtrusive. given the price of gas these days, who'd even notice a few pennies difference anyways? if we absolutely had to spend some money to make money- we could always build toll booths. same function, some of the same privacy issues (a la EZ pass etc.) but would hurt the pizza delivery drivers a lot less hard.
  • 1984, anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flamechocobo (792168) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:26PM (#10848451)
    HUGE privacy issue. There is no telling what can be done with these devices. Plus, GPS unit's don't JUST measure distance traveled. Most also track where you are at all times.
  • by delta_avi_delta (813412) <dave.murphy@gmai ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:29PM (#10848492)
    This would be seriously easy to crack: GPS receivers must have a clear view of the sky. This gives you a limited amount of obvious places to mount the device. Now cover with a tasteful home-made faraday cage (made from recycled cans or some-such, this being California) and voila, no tax.

    So in effect this is a tax on people who flunked physics 101. Just like lottery is a tax on people who failed Math.
  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:31PM (#10848524) Homepage Journal
    They build the roads, but get mad when we drive on them.

    They subsidize the roads with tax dollars, then wonder why we don't take the bus.

    They tax gas to keep us from buying it, then complain they have budget problems.

    The State taxes me so I don't drive, but the Feds let me take it off my (business) taxes.

    They want jobs, but they can't stand it when we make money.

    What's a self-employed nerd to do?
  • The sex tax. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:38PM (#10848630)
    I have an ingenious plan on how every government in the world can solve all its budget problems:

    THE SEX TAX

    Every male will have a chip installed in his sex organ. This chip would provide the following functions:

    • It would provide extra stimulation during the sex act.
    • Via a Bluetooth interface, the male would be able to specify sexual parameters, such as extra lasting time, longer orgasms, etc.
    • The chip would record all sexual activity and categorize it as follows:
      • Masturbation
      • Vaginal intercourse
      • Oral intercourse
      • Anal intercourse
      • Other intercourse
    • The male would have to report all sexual activity on a government document. Government computers would then match these documents against records received wirelessly from sex organ implants. (This step is performed to make the process error-prone on the male's part.)
    The male would then be taxed accordingly. Mistakes made in filing the appropriate paperwork would result in interest, fines, interest on the fines, penalties, interest on the penalties, and interest on the interest.

    This new technology would create a new revenue stream for the government. Additional benefits for the male include:

    • A spousal sex monitoring system, accessible via the web. Using this service, for which women could pay a monthly fee, wives will be able to monitor their husband's sexual activity, uncovering extramerital affairs, dirty masturbational habits, etc.
    • Proof of rape allegations. This service would provide women with a method of proving that a male had engaged in sexual intercourse with them. Of course, since there would be no female implant, a woman who is completely unrelated to the male, but who knows that the male had a sexual rendezvous at a certain time, could allege that the male had raped her. Proof would exist that the male had sex, but the male could not present any evidence that the sex had occurred with a different woman. According to the law, the male would be assumed guilty until proven innocent, and the law will provide for only one way for the male to prove his innocence: Sign all assets, property, and money over to the government.
    The new law will be called: The Millenium Sexual Freedom Act of 2005.

    Yes, this will obviously benefit both the male population, by providing innovative services that all males want, and the government, by providing a much needed revenue stream.

    Of course, in the typical government style, the money would be used for anti-sex education.

  • by wernst (536414) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:42PM (#10848678) Homepage
    I'm sure readers outside California know this, but in case you didn't know...

    Some other states apply their car tax by the vehicle's weight, due to the very sensible reason that a heaver car wears down the roads more than a lighter car, and therefore more repairs (and hence, more cost) are required with heavy cars.

    Obviously, SUVs and luxury cars pay more, while lighter and frugal cars pay less, PLUS it just makes sense: if you chew up the pavement and make more potholes because of your heavier car, then you SHOULD pay more.

    Of course, this makes too much sense for my state's DMV to figure out...

  • by mlmitton (610008) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:44PM (#10848700)
    Here's the link to a slashdot story on Oregon's proposal, which includes a link to an earlier slashdot story on Oregon's proposal.

    Oregon Slashdot Article [slashdot.org]

  • by ElectricRook (264648) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:47PM (#10848741)

    At smog-check time, the GPS memory gets down-loaded into a database... Remember Gray bought $82M worth of Oracle licenses.


    Then when a crime goes unsolved, the local police only need to search the monster database of who was where and when. Round up the guilty, and sentence the convicts.


    Remember Big Brother is Watching

    I'm beginning to think Americans are suffering from a lack of studying Orwell.

  • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @08:54PM (#10848812)
    I'm sort of a "tinfoil hat wearing" type of guy, but this seems really transparent to me. With everything that's been happening lately, perhaps tinfoil will become the latest fashion trend, but... Remember that the state of Oregon proposed this same thing perhaps a year ago, Slashdot did an article on it then...

    Think of this logically, as some of the others here already have. If the state were interested in taxing you based upon milage, they would simply record your odometer readings at each emmissions inspection and bill you accordingly for your tabs. Yeah, I know about the in-state/out-state argument, why not just ignore that and set the median tax at something reasonable.

    If the state were interested in reducing polution and oil consumption, they'd simply increase the already in place tax on gas and let the people in their Prius' slip through with their good milage. There are not really that many of them, and you could always give truckers a rebate at the end of the year if you feel sorry for them. Yeah, you COULD buy gas in Nevada or Oregon or Mexico, but you'd use up that gas getting back across the border, making any savings moot. Besides, the number of people living on the border is pretty fractional.

    Seems clear to me, the intention is NOT about simply taxing vehicle use based upon how far you drive, but something more nefarious. Something like the car rental places have been implementing. Looks like California wants to incorporate GPS into the new "black boxes" discussed on cnet a few days ago, those boxes that the government & insurance industry wants to put into your cars in order to give you better rates and let you prove that you're law abiding. They'd have the ability to track all vehicles.

    Each of the other taxation methods (checking odometer / gas tax) are simpler and already have the infrastructure necessary to implement in place. Both would accomplish the desired goal (more money for state based upon usage). Because something like this would be all new and would involve MUCH new infrastructure, it seems clear that simple revenue is NOT the intent of this proposal.

    California is a big enough market, that they cause defacto standards for cars. The lawmakers know this, and I'm guessing that they are acting as the "stalking horse" in order to get all cars in America fitted with such devices. I don't think the insurance industry alone has the clout to pull this off over the objections of the car driving public, but if each of the players asks for some little addition, they might all be able to get their way. Think of it like this, insurance wants feature A, Feds wants feature B, and state wants feature C. Expect all three features in one DMCA protected box that you must not tamper with, under penalty of law. Expect lawyers to get access to ALL recorded information.

    I would expect this proposal to move just about as quickly and silently as the copyright modifications moving through the Senate currently... Think fast and quiet.

  • by genjo (810561) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:02PM (#10848873) Homepage
    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There's one for you, nineteen for me,
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don't take it all,
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat,
    If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
    Taxman.
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Don't ask me what I want it for
    (Taxman Mister Wilson)
    If you don't want to pay some more
    (Taxman Mister Heath),
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Now my advice for those who die,
    Declare the pennies on your eyes,
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    And you're working for no-one but me,
    Taxman.

    'Fool on the Hill' was taken already, I guess.
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:04PM (#10848887) Journal
    if they don't start salting the roads, and the gps units are only going on NEW cars, The biggest effect they will have is to further depress new car sales [ie get LESS tax to the state]
    dumb!
  • Do it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:31PM (#10849159) Homepage
    Let the brain drain begin!

    We here in GA welcome our new CA overlords!

    Y'all want grits, right?
  • All it's going to take to bury this one is a quick call to your representative, or a letter.

    Ask a bunch of questions:

    who will pay for the devices?

    What about shared cars?

    Does travel outside the state count?

    How about the tourists?

    Rental cars?

    and on and on and on.

    It will die the same death Oregons proposal did.

  • by ToasterTester (95180) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:37PM (#10849643)
    So they want to charge you not only for the miles you will drive, but some roads and highways they will charge more for than others. They claim all this is because of people buy more fuel efficient cars. Huh since when is reducing gas consumption and reducing emissions a bad thing??? But I guess I could take the GPS off and put in on my grandmother cars. That will keep my mileage low.

    How stupid are these people??? If you leave the current gas tax it has it only way of adjusting it self. People who drive more, buy more gas. People with SUV's and other gas guzzlers by more gas. Even illegal aliens with no license and unregistered cars, still pay gas tax.

    Then we shall we get into the invasion of privacy with the GPS tracking everywhere we drive.

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