Monday, March 14, 2005

Washington State Auto Emission Standards

How about just getting people to drive less?

Interesting discussion about proposed clean air standards for the state on KUOW's show called "The Conversation." It aired today.

Several bills have been proposed trying to get vehicles to put out less carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

One such bill, SB5916, sponsored by Republican Dave Smitt, seems to have a major flaw in it. Smitt, who was one of KUOW's guests, proposed tax incentives for people to buy more fuel efficient cars; such as hybrids.

Isn't the state short of money? Can the state afford to cut sales taxes on new car purchases?

Smith feels the state would recoup the loss. If people drive more efficient cars, says Smitt, they would be spending less on gasoline. They would have more disposable income to spend on other items that have a sales tax; such as home furnishings for instance.

Sales tax is not collected on gas, but Smitt forgets about gas taxes.

Gas tax revenue is a big source of state funding. A big source of funding for highway construction.

Hybrid cars are great, but less money spent on gas means less "gas tax" money for road and transportation costs.

Rather than tax incentives for buying new cars, maybe we should just discourage people from driving as much. Then we would need less road construction money even though we would still need money for public transit.

I have nothing against hybrids. My brother owns a Prius.

Reducing pollution and consumption is a good thing, but the state also faces traffic gridlock. As wonderful as hybrids are, they still don't solve the gridlock in traffic and parking. Loss of gas tax revenue could hurt as road space is still needed by all the cars; even the fuel efficient ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your message regarding clean air proposals. This bill did not pass out of the Senate. Currently, the federal government gives a tax credit and I do not believe the state needs to give a tax break.

I appreciated hearing from you.