IRS – A NASCAR Fan?

Despite protestations to the contrary by some parsimonious congresspersons, the House voted recently to continue allowing the Pentagon to use taxpayer dough to sponsor any number of sportsters – NASCAR for one – as a mode of advertising and recruitment for the armed forces.  This, despite the lack of clear cut evidence that such advertising truly accomplishes anything.

So get ready to part company with something like $72 million in 2013 for the next annual edition of these shenanigans.  Quoth Minnesota Congressperson Betty McCollum (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party), an advocate of cutting off this spending spree, “This vote was an important test for Republicans and Democrats as to whether they have the stomach to cut wasteful Pentagon spending at a time when Washington is facing trillion dollar deficits.  Unfortunately, a majority decided taxpayer-funded race cars and bass fishing were more important than deficit reduction.”

So there.

And from our “you can just kiss what remaining privacy you have goodbye” department comes this unsettling development – emanating from California, of course.  Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments recently approved a study of a proposal to charge motorists a new tax on every mile they drive in the nine-county Bay Area region.  The localities need the money, of course, for roads and public transit infrastructure.  What they already get from the gasoline taxes just isn’t covering the nut, we guess.

But what really rankles is the notion that in order to track all of those miles you’re driving, the idea would be to have you install a GPS-like odometer of sorts in your car.  A device which would count your miles for sure, but who knows – the very same device just might be checking on where your destinations are, what time of the day or night you are visiting those destinations, how often you visit them, and on and on and on.

Quoth Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler, “The last thing we’re interested in is where you go and what you do.”

Really?  Smacks of just more big brotherism in our book.

In any case, we hear that based on current Bay Area driving patterns, a mileage tax could raise up to $15 million a day, according to the San Jose Mercury News.  The two regional agencies are considering the tax as part of a broader, 25-year transportation and land-use plan to accommodate the 2.1 million new residents who are expected to reside in the Bay Area and to curb greenhouse gases says the Contra Costa Times.

And if this idea goes anywhere, how long will it take a municipality near you to jump on the very same bandwagon?

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.

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