California Lawmakers Propose Per-Mile-Tax for Drivers - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

California Lawmakers Propose Per-Mile-Tax for Drivers

California lawmakers are considering  a "per mile tax." It would raise money for roads and bridges by replacing the state gas tax with a fee, based on the miles you drive.

Carmen Smith is one of the many Southern Californians who drive a hybrid or electric car. Most of whom paid more for their cars than they would've otherwise - to get that better mileage.

Now the California legislature is looking at a voluntary program that would eliminate the state's gas tax, which currently stands at 52.9-cents per gallon - second highest in the nation, behind New York. And instead institute a Vehicle-Miles-Travel tax - or VMT. The idea is just that - tax people for every mile they drive.

"I'm very opposed. I drive to Brentwood every day from Burbank. I'm already paying more than I should be," says Smith.

California Senator Mark DeSaulnier just introduced a new bill to test the VMT tax, because the gas tax is no longer bringing in the revenue it used to. Thanks to people driving more fuel efficient cars, the program is modeled after ones in both Oregon and Washington. "We want to do as Oregon and Washington have done, in a  much bigger state, with much longer commutes and much more impactful to our economy - to find out whether it would work, to find out whether the public would like it or not," says Sen. DeSaulnier (D).

As for how much the tax would be, that's still up in the air. Oregon currently charges its volunteers 1.5-cents per mile. "So all of those things will be determined. We would let the agency determine that because this would be a voluntary program."

Robinson adds, "Now if we go on vacation and we're driving up to Mammoth, that's 600 miles...we're being taxed on vacations?"
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