Lars Larson on Gov. Ted and GPS Taxing

Governor Ted Kulongoski wants to put a GPS tracking unit in your car.

I know it is one of the dumbest ideas to come along since the sales tax, but Governor Ted Kulongoski would like to track you by GPS. He’d like to have you pay for the GPS and put it in your own car. Then, drive around with it voluntarily. Well, not exactly voluntarily. If you don’t put it in your car you’ll have to pay even more in gasoline taxes at the pump.

The Governor wants to track the amount of mileage that you do””where you drive and when you drive and how often you drive–how much of what they call discretionary driving goes on, because they don’t want you to drive your car very much. But, they do want a lot of money to pay for roads.

Does that make sense? They want more money from you to pay for better roads and better road maintenance and a way to incentivize you not to use those roads.

If that makes sense to you, you too could be governor of the state of Oregon. We’ve got to get together and ban this whole idea of GPS tracking devices for honest, law abiding citizens.

“For more Lars click here”

  • Paul

    The Schlub can tax me $5 gallon and I’ll never use a GPS. I’d go to jail before these bums know when & where I go. Idiots!

  • Jerry

    Here’s the deal folks. Everyone knows the state is doing a great job maintaining our bridges and highways. That takes money. If people drive fuel efficient cars they buy less gas. That means less money going to Salem. They must do something. This GPS idea is really great. I like it a lot, as it will keep the money going to Salem, which is obviously what Oregonians want, as they keep voting these top-notch people into office.

    The only thing wrong with the idea is that is doesn’t tax out of staters. Thye should get portable units at the border and a bill as they leave.

  • Ed

    If anything, this doesn’t go far enough! We need GPS enabled ankle bracelets on every Oregonian. This will provide the government a way to track everyone’s movement, 24/7.

    Spend more than 50% of your time at home? Well, you’re overutilizing your land – time to up the property tax! Visiting the park with your kids more than once a week? That’s excessive usage, and time to pay the piper. Hmmm, Mr. Smith tends to frequent the liquor store quite often. Guess who’s paying more for Tequila next week!

    The opportunities are limitless!

  • Bob Clark

    I think maybe better to off load bridges and roads in real disrepair to a private firm through a long live lease. The private firm can impose a regulated toll to reimburse for upgrading and maintaining the bridge or road. This would probably bring about efficiencies versus the state, county and local transportation bureaucracies. It would also allow for diversity of road suppliers with government having to reform to be competitive with alternative suppliers.

    I think it was Bechtel who offered to take over the Sellwood bridge and bring it up to snuff but Multnomah county bureaucrats gave the proposal a cold shoulder. The Sellwood bridge languishes instead with public buses ban from using it because of concerns about the bridge holding up the weight of buses it once could carry.

    Yea, our local governance is really something to be proud of. Not.

    • David from Eugene

      Except for the Military Railways during the Civil War, Railroads have always been under private ownership in the United States and minimum regulation. Yet we still after 100 plus years only have one railroad connecting Los Angeles and Seattle. So what makes you thing anyone would build a highway parallel to I-5? Granted, they maybe willing to take over a bridge somewhere if it gives them a monopoly position, but build a competitive system I do not think so.

      Privatization rarely if ever really benefits the public, only the company who takes over the governmental function benefits. Oh, it may seem to cost less, but in the end as the wise man said “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” It may come in the form of lower quality, reduced service, fewer or poorer jobs or less money circulating locally but the public will pay in the end, because a for-profit company always takes its profit somehow.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Private companies do have to make a profit, but lets not forget that government entities also have no incentive for efficiency. The question is which adds more to the final cost of a given thing, profit or poor efficiency. With most things government will always do the job with less efficiency and at greater cost than the profit a private company takes.

        This is especially egregious in light of the incredible advantage government entities have over private business. When the playing field is leveled by taking into account that government entities do not pay taxes are exceedingly difficult to sue and generally tend to have non competitive forced purchase business arenas one would be hard pressed to find a government entity saving people any money.

  • David from Eugene

    What tracking unit? The Governor is not proposing to put a tracking unit on your car he is proposing to put another odometer on your car; one that only operates when the car is driven in Oregon. It knows when your car is in Oregon by querying the satellites that make up the Global Positioning System. And the only information the unit would provide is the total number of miles you drove in Oregon since the last time it was queried during a fuel purchase. This is not to say there are not problems with the proposal, because there are many. But let’s deal with them and not fears based on capabilities it doesn’t have.

    • Jerry

      Who says anyone is afraid? We already told you in #2 above it was a great idea.

      Are you now complaining when people agree with you?

      I don’t mind if they track my every move. They might be able to help me better if I got in trouble if they always knew where I was.

      Guess what? You can’t track miles in state without knowing where the sending unit is. So they are tracking our every move – anyone with even half a brain could figure that out. However, it is a good thing and we should all welcome it.

      The sooner the better I say.

      Track me, track me,
      Track me good.
      Follow my car
      in the neighborhood.
      Then tax me, tax me
      tax me big.
      So the state can pay
      for the highway gig.
      They must have our monies,
      it all makes sense.
      Give them even more,
      it’s just recompense.
      So track me, track me,
      track my every mile.
      And I will send you
      money all the while.
      And if I don’t send it
      right away,
      You’ll know where I am
      and can make me pay.
      So track me, track me,
      track me fine.
      Keep an eye on me
      all the time.

      I really don’t mind.

      • David from Eugene

        “Guess what? You can’t track miles in state without knowing where the sending unit is. So they are tracking our every move – anyone with even half a brain could figure that out. However, it is a good thing and we should all welcome it.”

        Yes, you can, you current car is already equipped with at least one device (my Honda has two) that tracks the number of miles your car is driven. It is called an odometer. There are two significant differences between that odometer and the device they are proposing. First, the device will record only miles driven within Oregon, to do this the device queries the satellites that make up the Global Positioning System. These satellites only transmit a signal used by independent GPS receivers to determine their location, and most importantly for this discussion, they do not record who receives the signal they send out or where they are. It cannot because it was not designed or intended to do so.

        The second difference is, that rather then being read visually like the factory installed odometer, these units are intended to be read electronically by a device located at the gas station when you buy more fuel. Assuming the device works as ODOT says it does, all that is transmitted is the total miles driven since the last time fuel was purchased in Oregon. Assuming the device at the gas station retains your mileage in a discrete recoverable form (which is not necessary for the system to operate) the only privacy information the State Government has, is the number of miles a particular vehicle was driven since its last Oregon fuel purchase and the fact that your car was at the gas station at a particular time. The latter is information known to both the Gas station and your credit card company is you do not pay cash.

        So I again I say lets put the unfounded privacy fears aside and get to the important questions, among which are: What is the per mile tax going to be and should the unit be capable of congestion pricing or not?

  • Brad Rydman

    To buy into this scheme of the Governor’s one would have to trust the government when it says it won’t/can’t track more than just mileage. I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, trust must be earned, and the government simply hasn’t earned any from me. Given their track record over the years of telling us one thing while doing something completely different, and even in some cases contrary to their own initial assertions, to assume them trustworthy at virtually any level is just plain ignorant, in my opinion…..

    • Fred Thompson

      Consider the firewall between your personal income tax records, aside from tax enforcement it can only be obtained by court order. Certainly, it can only be used against you in court if so accessed. Why would this be different? Besides, most of us use cell phones, while by no means as precise as GPS, their use provides information that allows your movements to be tracked just about anywhere. I think privacy is a red herring in this instance.

      Nobody likes taxes, but most conservatives believe that if we must have them they ought to look as much like user fees as possible and that is precisely what this proposal would allow the state do. Besides, it is the first step toward congestion pricing. Right now the state gives away something very valuable, access to the state transportation net, for free, It’s not surprising that there is frequently excess demand for this valuable commodity, which must be rationed by queues and the like. If smart conservatives don’t believe in price rationing, who will?

      • Anonymous

        “Right now the state gives away something very valuable, access to the state transportation net, for free”

        Ever heard of gas taxes, imbecile?

    • David from Eugene

      Brad, you are correct that many people do not trust government and that is a problem with public acceptance of this proposal. While I believe that the proposal as outlined by the Governor and ODOT does not represent an infringement on my privacy, I am not nearly as certain that should this proposal be implemented that the device may not have other undisclosed capabilities. For this reason I believe that one the software and electronic schematics for the device to be public knowledge and that it be lawful for anyone who wishes to buy a unit and test it. And if it is not possible to operate such an open system then we will need to find another way. The key is “Trust, but verify”

      • Anonymous

        “While I believe that the proposal as outlined by the Governor and ODOT does not represent an infringement on my privacy”

        You are either a liar, a fool, or a lying fool.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    I think we can now say that we have officially shifted back to “black helicopters” from the preferred phrase for the past eight years – “civil libertarians and rights advocates”

    This close to the inauguration let us reminisce shall we?

    Bush taps overseas cell phone calls and say he is doing it legally, only foreign calls? Concern by people that this was BS was a civil liberties concern, concern about rights, government lies after all. But that was then.

    Bush invades Iraq – Government lies, it was all about Halliburton, some weird oil pipeline in Michael Moore’s 911 movie. Black helicopter conspiracies? I think not! These are legitimate concerns about civil rights issues, government lies and it must be kept in check.

    Now Ted comes along with his GPS unit and people are a little concerned about the civil liberties implications. Could a transponder be built into the GPS unit without people knowledge ( a GPS unit cannot track without either a recorder or a transponder, cell phones are an example of a transponder are are the GPS tracking units on semi’s, a helicopter “black box” is an example of a recorder type unit, although it does vastly more )

    Legitimate civil rights concern?

    Hardly, because its almost inauguration time!

    Black Helicopter concern?

    Of course. Who would be so cynical as to always be suspicious government was lying to them.

    My my, how times change.

  • Daniel

    I do realize that most of you turds wont agree with me, but why does lars still give that impression that he lives in Oregon? Should he not be more interested in the happenings in his own state of residence? You already left our state , so stop coming back, stop complaining about a state you no longer live in. And lets here a better balance of your home state issues.

    • Brad Rydman

      I’m sorry, but calling us ‘turds’ probably isn’t the best way to get us to take you or your statement(s) seriously. Perhaps you might want to rethink that approach. And try using a spell-check while you’re at it.

      As for whether or not Lars has a “right” to complain about the way the State of Oregon is run by the idiots in charge because he happens to live across the river seems to me to be a bit ridiculous. The fact that he may not reside in the state doesn’t discredit his posted statement on the GPS tracking issue, in my opinion. I suspect you’re allowing your own personal dislike for Lars cloud your thinking on the issue.

      • Anonymous

        What difference does it make where he lives. He’s still bringing up good points that we are really stupid turds if we don’t look

    • Joanne Rigutto

      Also, I might add that, while Lars might live in Washington, he still works in Oregon, and any attempt to impose congestion/corridor/cordon pricing will directly affect him, so I think he does indeed have a ‘dog in the fight’, as do all Washingtonians working in Oregon.

  • Jerry

    The GPS mileage units MUST be used for congestion pricing. Otherwise, what’s the point. With Mother Earth heating up so fast we must take action now to save her.

    I wonder why people couldn’t just send in whatever extra money they had to ODOT rather than be forced to have a “unit” in their car that tracks their every move?

    I also wonder about the track record of Oregon government when it comes to computer systems? Does any sane person actually think they could pull this off? They will lose 10’s of millions on the “system” and then ask for more when it doesn’t work. Trust me on that.

    I think this whole problem could be solved with my original idea of a bike rebate. You buy a bike made in the USA you get $500 off your state taxes. If you ride it (GPS tracking to make sure) you get an additional 25 cents a mile off your state income taxes.
    What about this idea?? Are we bold enough to do something that would actually work??

  • Pinkie

    sounds a lot like 1984 and big brother. Hell, if you dont want government in your womb, how can you want goverment in your car?

    There was an Donald Duck cartoon with Scrooge McDuck got sick. Donald took over, and he put a collar around everyone’s neck to tax every breath they took.

    Ted would love this plan…and I bet he has a dedicated libnut looking into it as we type.