SUV fees

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MtnBiker, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Higher SUV sticker fee would affect 33 models

    November 13, 2003

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter Advertisement


    Thirty-three models of sport-utility vehicles tip the scales at 4,500 pounds or more and will be required to pay the $90 city sticker fee included in Mayor Daley's hard-times budget for 2004.

    They range from the 4,504-pound Acura MDX, the 4,585-pound Lexus GX 470 and the 4,612-pound Chevy TrailBlazer to the 6,400-pound Hummer H2, 7,154-pound Hummer H1 and 7,688-pound Ford Excursion.

    City Clerk James Laski released the evolving list of SUV heavyweights that will be hit with the 20 percent increase -- from $75 to $90 -- as influential aldermen acknowledged that the Daley administration's rationale for targeting the SUVs is bogus.

    For the last month, budget director Bill Abolt has argued that SUVs should be required to pay more to erase a deficit in the fund used to repair city streets because "heavier vehicles place more wear and tear on the roads."

    Earlier this week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that engineering and transportation experts were poking holes in that argument.

    They insisted that roads are typically designed for heavy trucks that weigh "at least double" if not 10 times what an SUV does. They argued that there is virtually no difference between the road damage caused by SUVs and passenger cars.

    "If they're going to use an argument, they should use a rational argument. That one doesn't hold water," said Sidney Guralnick, a professor of civil and architectural engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

    Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) acknowledged Wednesday that the decision to sock it to SUV owners was more about money than road damage.

    "You go to the car wash now, if you have an SUV, they charge you more than for a sedan," Burke said. The weight of the vehicle is nothing more than "a factor that permits us to hook into a way to get a higher fee," he said.

    Burke noted that the make and model list would be the bible for enforcement purposes because "I don't imagine there's gonna be somebody rolling around with a scale" to weigh vehicles.

    Rules Committee Chairman Richard Mell (33rd), who drives an SUV, said he'd love to vote against the $90 sticker fee, but he's willing to swallow it if it's part of the mayor's overall $50.5 million tax package.

    "What we're doing, obviously, is trying to solve the tax problems in our city by finding little glitches where we can add a little bit more money, instead of having people sit down and look at the whole package of how you devise enough money to run the state and the city," Mell said.


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  2. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Considering the fuel economy on these vehiciles, owners of SUVs are already paying more in tax on gasoline purchases.
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    In Seattle, they just instituted a monorail tax of $15/yr per car, in a state that has been fighting for four years to have $30 car tabs (a fight that finally came to fruition in October). So what are Seattleites doing? Registering their cars at addresses outside city limits. Some people are getting P.O. boxes outside Seattle, using it as their mailing address for purposes of car registration, and saving the $15/yr.
    I think many SUV owners in Chicago might start doing the same thing if this law is passed.
     
  4. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Interesting Jeff, are the really saving any money? How much does a yearly P.O. Box cost? I would think somewhere close to 15 bucks. I believe you that people are doing this, perhaps to spite the government and refuse to pay yet another form of tax or fee.
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Bingo - the principle of not paying the tax is worth the cost of a PO box. Seattle councilmen are pretty pissed off about it, but I don't think they are in a position to do anything about it.
    BTW - I live about 50 miles south of Seattle, so this does not affect me.
     
  6. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Well, I'm glad it does not affect you. It seems Seattle is trying many was to increase the tax burden on the people and still being rejected. Didn't a proposed coffee tax in Seattle lose in a vote recently?
     
  7. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    I have to say that no matter the reason behind it, I think the idea of charging more to register an SUV is a good one. Perhaps people will find a way around it but maybe the law will be created in a way to limit their non-compliance.

    Unfortunately, money is usually the only language that people understand, so I say make them pay for the privledge of reducing the earth's resources and being a menace on the roads.
     
  8. tybalt
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    How about an SUV pollution tax? Think of it as "takings" legislation in reverse.

    Under the Public Trust Doctrine, as well as federal and state laws, polluters are liable to the public for Natural Resource Damages for harming tidal lands, waterways, groundwater, wetlands, wildlife and fisheries that rightly belong to the people. If clean air is ruled to be a natural resource that belongs to the people, then people who choose to drive vehicles that emit unusual amounts of pollution (i.e., SUVs) could be "taxed" accordingly.

    Of course, this could set a precedent that allows governments to tax people who fart too much.
     
  9. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Hey Moi, do you live in Virginia? What did you think of the repeal of teh car tax?

    I totally agree with your post. I might take it a bit farther and say there ought to be a siginificant gas tax (for industry as well). Making suv owners pay a few dollars more for registration does not seem strong enough to me.
     
  10. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    How are SUVs a menace to the roads?


    There aready is a gasoline tax, 18.4 cents per gallon for the federal tax plus state tax. With New York being the highest at 29.65 cents per gallon.State gasoline tax
    SUVs generally use more gas per mile, therefore owners of SUVs are paying more in gasoline tax.
     

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