ICYMI: Asbury Park Press calls for Whelan to ?pull the plug on tax for electric vehicles”

Editorial echoes Frank X. Balles and Atlantic County citizens? call for Whelan to pull the worst bill ever…

The Asbury Park Press recently penned an editorial slamming Sen. Whelan?s widely criticized mileage tax proposal and called for Whelan to ?take his bill to the legislative equivalent of a junkyard and leave it there.? Since Whelan introduced his legislation two months ago, Republican Senate Candidate Frank X. Balles has criticized the legislation that would hurt and further burden Atlantic county?s struggling middle class families.

?It?s unbelievable that Sen. Whelan has yet to pull the mileage tax legislation that?s been dubbed the ?worst bill ever? and something fit for the ?junkyard? in two newspaper editorials,? Republican Senate Candidate Frank X. Balles said. ?Simply put this bill is bad for New Jerseyans, will destroy any economic growth, and make it more difficult for our struggling families to make ends meet.?

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Asbury Park Press

April 30, 2013

It?s only May, but the contest for the Worst Legislative Idea of the year is all but over.

State Sen. James Whelan, D-Atlantic, recently announced he wants to tax electric cars by the mile to pay for road maintenance. The bill, S-2531, will probably go nowhere, but it is another example of why politicians are held in such low esteem. If there is a better way for government to scare people away from alternatives to hydrocarbon-spewing automobiles, we haven?t heard of it.

The rationale for Whelan?s proposed legislation is that alternative-fueled and electric vehicles don?t pay a tax on gasoline, a major source of funding for road maintenance and repairs. Whelan would charge electric and alternative-fueled vehicles a fee of 0.00839 cents per mile traveled.

Oh, and get this: Electric car drivers would have to file paperwork with the state that includes tracking mileage and reporting it to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. The state then would have to audit motorists and institute fines for late submissions or under-reporting of miles.

?It would work similar to the income tax where people (who are self-employed) self-report,? Whelan said. ?We?d hope people would be honest.?

Turning an alternative fuel source to hydrocarbon pollution into a bureaucratic nightmare in which the MVC has to function as the IRS is no way to incentivize the purchase of electric cars.

One could make the case that electric car owners, who also use the roads, do have some responsibility for their upkeep. But other states have dealt with the issue by charging flat fees. Virginia, for example, charges owners of hybrid, electric and alternative-fueled vehicles a $64 annual fee for road maintenance and improvement.

Whelan should take his bill to the legislative equivalent of a junkyard and leave it there.

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