Denver Direct: Fee vs. Tax
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Monday, February 9, 2009
Fee vs. Tax
Associate Dave Felice shares his letter to Representative Beth McCann. More here.
February 6, 2009
You know I am a very liberal Democrat. I’m also just as concerned about the condition of roads and “job creation” as anyone.
I am strongly opposed to the auto registration fee increase legislation now before the House. This is really nothing more than a tax increase in disguise. Let’s be honest. The proponents are touting this “fee increase” as a way of generating money because they know they cannot take a tax increase proposal to the voters.
In addition, the fee hike is regressive. It hurts the economically disadvantaged population most. Since mass transit is really lousy at best, many in this population depend on automobile transportation to and from low-paying jobs.
Furthermore, now is not the time to be saddling people with the increased costs of government and making people pay for the contemptuous behavior of the Republicans over the last eight years. The roads are in bad shape because the Republicans wouldn’t pay for repairs, and the Democrats should now just say so. “Highway Bill” Owens was quick to pave anything that didn’t move, but he had no thought about fixing the pavement when it deteriorated.
Then, there are some of us who are opposed to wholesale road repair schemes because we simply do not use the roads that much. I realize that’s a selfish position, but with the high cost of transportation, I’m staying as close to my ZIP Code as possible and I actually drive LESS than 7,000 miles per year.
My car is 28 years old and I’m giving serious consideration to not registering if the fee goes up. Well, what happens to the grand revenue-generating scheme if fewer people actually register?
Part of the solution is to just say NO. Prioritize the needs. Fix the bridges that are dangerous. Leave the rest alone for a while. If the pavement isn’t always smooth as glass, that’s the hardship we all have to bear.
This “jobs creation” myth is a story for another time.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for representing me in the General Assembly.
at 7:56 AM
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Democrat, District 38, Littleton and vicinity
200 E Colfax 80203 866-2953
Response from Rep. Beth McCann, D-HD8, received 2/24/09:
I have given a lot of thought to the registration fee increase and the difficulty of funding needed transportation repairs. I am particularly concerned about the regressive nature of the fee as you mention. It will be difficult for those with little or no margin in their income. However, I have concluded that a registration fee increase is going to have to be part of the solution. There just is no good way to raise funds for transportation needs and it is logical to have those who use the roads pay for their upkeep. I am interested in seeing if there is some flexibility in how to calculate the amount - taking into account the age of the car. The bill does include a ratio based on weight. I know there is a portion of the bill that would allow communities to experiment with a pilot program to charge by the vehicle miles driven. That is an interesting idea. Anyway, I have voted to move the bill out of Appropriations (Committee) so we will see how it progresses. Thanks for your input and please stay in touch. I am always interested in your viewpoint. Beth