Buttigieg Walks Back Call for Vehicle Mileage Tax
Conservatives has long accused liberals of wanting to tax anything that moves – and that recently became literally true.
Pete Buttigieg floated a gas tax hike during his confirmation hearing in January, and then added an even more encompassing “mileage tax” to the mix during a CNBC interview earlier this month.
The gas taxcreates a “pay as you go” system for usage of America’s infrastructure, whereas those who drive the most use the most gas, and thus pay the most gas taxes to fund infrastructure. However due to the rise of electric cars (which only accounted for 2% of new passenger vehicle sales last year), Buttigieg wrongly believes that’s no longer the case, and floated a mileage tax earlier in the month as a remedy.
“I’m hearing a lot of appetite to make sure that there are sustainable funding streams. A mileage tax shows a lot of promise if we believe in that so-called user-pays principle: The idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive. The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it. It’s not anymore. A so-called vehicle-miles-traveled tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” Buttigieg said of funding Biden’s infrastructure agenda.
No details were given as to how sizeable those taxes would be per mile.
Naturally, this would have the effect of double taxing those with gas powered vehicles, even if it was partially pitched as a way to get electric vehicle owners to pay their “fair share.” It would also have the effect of disproportionately taxing those who live in rural areas.
The reaction to Buttigieg’s comments was overwhelmingly negative, and perhaps due to that feedback, is now off the table.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Buttigieg said a mileage tax is “not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill.”
“So just want to make sure that that’s really clear, but you will be hearing a lot more details in the coming days about how we envision being able to fund this,” Buttigieg said. “And again, these are carefully thought-through responsible ideas that ultimately are going to be a win for the economy and need to be compared to the unaffordable cost of the status quo.”
Buttigieg then fumbled one of the administration’s talking points, adding “One thing I will do is reiterate the president’s commitment that his proposals will not raise taxes at all on anyone making under $400,000 a year. If you’re making less than $400,000 a year, this proposal will not involve a tax increase for you.” This comes after Psaki already “clarified” that the $400,000 threshold was “always” meant to apply to households, not individuals (which was never mentioned on the campaign trail). This defense also makes no sense because that Buttigieg even considered a mileage tax debunks his claim that he wouldn’t raise taxes on those earning $200k/$400k per year.
Biden will debut his infrastructure plan later today, which is expected to carry a $2 trillion price tag – more costly than the coronavirus relief bill recently passed. Or in other words, the infrastructure plan would cost more than half of the revenue the federal government brought in during the 2020 fiscal year.
Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York, Debunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate
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