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26 November 2003 @ 02:28 am
Will someone explain the whineage about the car tax? I just paid mine today, and undiscounted, it was all of $206. And my car's three years old, so not exactly road wreckage. I *really* do not understand the hysteria about taxes in this country. I spend all year driving on smooth, safe, clean roads that would make the Roman Empire weep, upon which I can expect, if I have an accident, to have extraordinarily sophisticated assistance descend within minutes. And I pay pennies a day. If I had a expensive, year old car, *maybe* I'd pay $600 or so. And people *whine* about this. Depose governors over this! They seem to think, that even if they remove the money beneath this miracle, it will remain intact and perfect, like a Warner's Brothers cartoon character that has not yet realized that there is only air beneath him.
Tayefethtayefeth on November 26th, 2003 05:10 am (UTC)
No explanation here, only agreement.
silkiemom on November 26th, 2003 09:12 am (UTC)
I was pretty grumpy about people complaining about the car tax increase, too, since it was restored to what we used to pay. The car tax was lowered when we had a rip-roaring boom economy (in a pretty stupid way - Davis wanted to show off his nifty car tax cut, so had people mail in their full registration and had the state send refunds of the difference, costing the state about $22 million in postage and assorted administrative costs, but I digress here). What bugs me is that it's so easy to cut taxes when times are good (giving money back to the taxpayers), but it's so politically impossible to restore the taxes to their original levels when times are bad. You can't have it both ways, tax cuts in good times, no tax increases in bad times.

That said, I do have sympathy for some people who were hit by unexpected car tax increases in the middle of the year, especially with our economy being so bad. I ended up paying a whopping $48 more on my 9-year old car, and I can imagine people who are barely scraping by having that be an unexpected hardship. Also, my daughter's kindergarten teacher suddenly has a $2500 registration fee for her motor home, which isn't exactly peanuts.

(Anonymous) on November 26th, 2003 11:13 am (UTC)
Ooops, common mistake...
I quote from http://www.redding.com/top_stories/state/20031001topstate003.shtml (just the first hit on searching for "Car tax" "Pete Wilson")
Republicans say the Davis administration illegally increased the fee to raise $4.2 billion to help plug a gaping hole in the state budget. Davis countered that state law passed by the Legislature and signed by his predecessor, Gov. Pete Wilson, in 1998 required the fee to return to 2 percent of a vehicle's value when the budget was in the red.
Possibly Wilson's implemention cost the $22 million too. I suspect that's the case because the Arnold's implementation is very similar and Wilson is a main advisor to the Arnold.
silkiemom on November 26th, 2003 11:48 am (UTC)
Re: Ooops, common mistake...
This is quoting from http://republican.sen.ca.gov/web/mcclintock/article_detail.asp?PID=173, which could be seen as a partisan account, but does supoort my recollection of events.

In 1998 legislation was passed lowering the car tax (vehicle license fee) each year until it was cut 67.5%. In 2000, rather than simply allowing the lower rate to take effect, the Governor and the Legislature replaced the cut with a rebate check. This change meant that motorists would have to pay twice the tax they legally owed, and wait for the bureaucracy to send them a rebate.

The cost to the state of sending the rebate checks totals $45 million for two years, including the cost to the state controller to send the checks and to the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer the program. The interest lost to California motorists is $30 million.

While Wilson started the VLF tax cut, Davis and his legislature had to approve it, and his administration is the one that spent millions of dollars doing rebate checks instead of just cutting the tax.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Davis was completely responsible for cutting it in the first place. My biggest gripe about his part in it was in trying to make it more visible by bragging about it.
(Anonymous) on November 26th, 2003 01:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that 'making it more visible' sure backfired!

Alrighty, anybody know what the 'car tax' was designed to replace? I think I know the answer to this one, but my track record so far... ;)
Lauratavella on November 26th, 2003 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much scraping by, to the point where $206 is a serious expense, but that's true for all my expenses including my rent. And I just can't get upset about paying less than one third of my monthly rent in car tax.

There are some people who brought expensive vehicles in the boom and are now trying to pay the taxes on unemployment or much worse salaries, and I feel sympathy for them, but if 2 percent is *that* unaffordable, it might be time to look into selling and getting a cheaper vehicle.
Marithmarith on November 26th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC)
Well ranted.