Governors Display New Hunger for Tax Revenue
Imagine receiving a ticket after ordering food at a restaurant’s drive-thru window. Though frightening, it might become possible if two state governors find a way to combine their seemingly-unrelated efforts to raise taxes.
A piece published in the New York Daily News almost two weeks ago outlined Gov. David Patterson’s effort to impose 88 new fees and a host of new taxes on the citizens in New York. Perhaps the most-talked-about among his proposed hikes is one known as the “fat tax.” In short, it seeks to change behavior by adding a 15 percent surcharge to the cost of a non-diet soda.
Three-thousand miles away, an article published in the Albany (Ore.) Democrat Herald newspaper yesterday offered details of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s desire to raise new tax revenue in Oregon. He hopes to employ GPS tracking devices as a means of imposing a mileage tax on his constituents. In other words, he wants people who drive more to pay more in taxes to cover the cost of road construction and maintenance.
Combine Governor Patterson’s desire with that of Governor Kulongoski and the end product (i.e., new legislation) is likely to authorize the use of satellite tracking equipment to follow taxpaying citizens as they go about their daily lives. Merely following them, however, will not be enough.
Operating in tandem with sophisticated database software, the GPS technology might soon enable state officials to both track their citizens and to issue citations to those whose driving habits too often lead them to food-serving destinations (i.e., restaurants, convenience stores, etc.) flagged by the state as offering “unhealthy.”
Forget about stoplight cameras! Thanks to Democrats like Patterson and Kulongoski, the prospect of getting a ticket after ordering from a fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru window is no longer as farfetched as it might once have been thought to be.