This bill provides a roadmap (terrible pun absolutely intended) to invade your privacy and use the tax code for social engineering.
A bill was introduced in the Iowa Senate to create a pilot program assessing the potential to tax Iowans based on the number of miles they drive in our state. But it really doesn’t stop there.
It wouldn’t just track your miles. A GPS device is required to let the government know where you travel with the intent of generating a tax bill. The tax would be based on:
- the time you are driving
- the type of road
- how close you were to other transit options
- your vehicle's fuel efficiency
- if you carpool or rideshare
- how much income the driver makes (read that one again)
The bill also wants to evaluate the impact this type of tax would have on the environment and traffic congestion. Apparently, there is no issue that can’t be dealt with by collecting more of your money!
This brings to mind the cliché, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Legislators do know if they want to work on something they have more tools than just collecting taxes, don’t they?
Let’s push aside the important question of whether a different funding model is needed for transportation infrastructure. Instead, we should focus on the intrusion on our privacy and the fact that the government wants to manipulate our choices through taxation.
This type of legislation violates one of ITR’s key tax principles: Iowa’s tax code should promote freedom. Taxes should not be used for social engineering. Iowa should not create new taxes or substitute one tax for another.
ITR is registered against this legislation. If it advances to a subcommittee hearing, we will provide you an opportunity to contact your legislator. In the meantime, please share your thoughts with us.