February 15, 2023,
Today, a newly filed bill, HB 1832, the Road Usage Charge has reared its inequitable head once again. This darling of representative Jake Fey, D, chair of the transportation committee, has lingered for far too long in the minds of representatives such as Fey who refuses to see the way this method of taxation will impact citizens unequally. Hardly noticed by those who find Electric Vehicles affordable, the taxation will fall the hardest on lower income and rural vehicle owners who are already paying for the infrastructure needed and being created for the plug in crowd.
Other methods of gaining revenue to mis-spend tax dollars have been proffered by legislators, but have been largely ignored. For example, senator Fortunato has found a better method of creating revenue that is more even-handed in SB 5017 Dedicating the sales tax on motor vehicles to highway uses. But 5017 has only gotten a first reading and has not even progressed to the point where the public can comment on the bills merit in a public hearing. You can bet it will only linger and then die.
Chairman Fey's propensity to introduce bills two days before the first cutoff date seems at best disingenuous or perhaps dishonest. A bill that will have a huge impact on the finances and the privacy of citizens in this state should have been filed at the beginning of session in order to give it ample time for public review and commenting.
Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights strictly opposes the HB 1832 which, if passed, will have an outsized impact on rural citizens, and those small enterprises carrying out their business that require they transport their goods or services. There is simply no method that would make the taxation in this bill equally applied to all citizens of the state.
The voluntary status of the RUC is only a method by which mandatory fees can in future be implemented, once a program the department can manage is established the RUC will be mandatory and just another expense on top of the multi-faceted unaffordability of living in Washington State.
The waiving of EV fees for this “voluntary” program is another factor which creates disparity, those who can afford an EV will not be paying fees or gas taxes while others of lesser means will be paying both fuel taxes, indeterminate fees for carbon auction markets, and will see no method or recouping losses for those methods of taxation.
The assurances regarding personally identifiable information gathering are less that realistic given the past prformance of agencies' ability to maintain secure databases.
Our researh suggests there are better ways to achieve transportation funds and the road usage charge method should be rejected.