Have you seen this Mileage Tax editorial?

July 19, 2016

I thank the many of you who have contacted me at Michael.McLachlan@cga.ct.gov to tell me why you are opposed to a new Mileage Tax in Connecticut.

As I continue to fight this tax, I will keep you informed on this issue.

Please continue contacting me, and please share with friends the attached editorial in today’s Norwich Bulletin.

(Norwich Bulletin Editorial)

On mileage study, Democrats either wasting money or lying

The state plans to spend $300,000 of taxpayer money to study ways to charge motorists for every mile they drive — the so-called “mileage tax.”

This plan exists despite insistence from the governor and from lawmakers that they have no desire to seek such a tax and that it would never get any traction in the Legislature.

There are two possible interpretations, and neither reflects well on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration.

One is that leaders are simply wasting money studying something they openly acknowledge is not feasible.

The other is that they are lying about their motivations, and that the mileage tax truly is on the table — or will be in the not-too-distant future.

Connecticut would provide $300,000 in matching funds for a $1.5 million federal grant for which it’s applied along with New Hampshire, Delaware, Vermont and Pennsylvania.

The idea is to study and test mileage tracking, which would use a device connected to a car’s internal computer, or a smartphone app, to track mileage and transmit the information back to a state agency or vendor for billing.

Oregon has a similar program in place, giving drivers the option of paying the ordinary gas tax or the mileage tax. California is in the process of studying the issue, with 5,000 drivers participating in a pilot program.

When this idea first arose in Connecticut almost a year ago, we voiced our concern about privacy: Under a mileage tax system, the state likely would develop the technical capacity to track drivers — to look at who went where at what time, and to examine individual driving habits for any purpose.

There is also the obvious tax ramification: We have the distinction of being one of few Northeast states without tolls, and we needn’t give Connecticut residents and businesses any more reasons to flee.

But worry not, state leaders say: Neither the General Assembly nor the governor plans to pursue a mileage tax.

The $300,000 outlay, we’re told, is for information-gathering purposes only.

That may be true today.

But in the future, as costly transportation infrastructure projects add up, that’s just the sort of information leaders would need to justify an onerous new tax.