Letters to the Editor: Fight the high price of gas. Don’t buy any new cars, since almost all of them have an annual gasoline consumption limit. Gasoline is the number one cost of transportation for most people.
— Donald E. Miller, New Port Richey, Fla., in “The Best of the Web”
By RICHARD R. BAKER
Editor’s note: Rick Baker is the author of the annual report of Florida’s Motor Vehicle Commission, compiled as a consumer advocacy group. The report has been in circulation for many years and can be read on the Web at floridamotorvehiclecommission.org.
We agree with the critics that Florida has a $5,600 purchase or $6,000 loan tax. This tax has cost the state as much as $1.8 billion in the last five years.
It is no wonder why Florida legislators have not repealed the purchase or loan tax. They do not want it repealed, nor do they realize the cost to our citizens in higher fuel prices, less fuel efficiency and worse, fewer new vehicles on the roads and highways.
Florida is second only to California in vehicle registrations, miles driven and sales. Florida has always had a high oil consumption.
In 1993, Florida became one of the first states to implement the federal gallon and ton standards. This action saved an estimated $10.2 billion in fuel costs over the next 20 years.
The state Legislature then compounded the stupidity of its purchase or loan tax by raising its motor vehicle license fee from $5 to $6 in 1995 to raise revenue. The Legislature ignored its own recommendation to the contrary by adding the fee to the existing $5-6.
While the Legislature knew the fuel tax is an unwise way to raise revenue, Florida taxpayers are now in for a double whammy. First, their state gas tax is nearly twice as high to the retail sale price. Additionally, an annual $6.50 vehicle registration fee is added to this cost.
In a perfect world, we would replace this senseless purchase or loan tax with a tax on gas at the pump and use the proceeds to provide income tax refunds to our citizens.
But the Legislature would never agree to