My Turn: Hybrid car owners could owe an extra tax - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Hybrid car owners could owe an extra tax

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We are hearing more and more these days about our carbon footprint.  Basically that means what type of pollution you are personally leaving behind.  So, silly me, I thought I was making a positive contribution three years ago when I purchased a hybrid car.

Yes, it saves me money on gas.  But it also has less of a negative impact on the environment.  But now it seems our government here in North Carolina can't keep its hands off of environmental contributions like mine. 

You may have heard that there's a proposal in the General Assembly to charge hybrid owners like me an extra $50 to register and renew their vehicle.  That fee doubles for people who own electric cars.

And our state senator, Bill Rabon, apparently supports the plan saying the state needs to make up for the loss of gas taxes, because I'm buying less gasoline.  And this is coming from a Republican who got into office promising to cut taxes.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I should have to pay the government more of my hard earned "green" for my efforts at greener living.    

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


Emailed comments from viewers:

We need a petition to fight this crazy proposal. We should be giving a tax break for people driving hybrids. Tax those gas guzzling SUVs.

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It seems to me that the Honorables want people who have efficient cars to subsidize those who drive gas guzzlers.  Folks who buy huge, inefficient vehicles without concerns about the cost of gas need us to support their habit.  If we can't afford such expenses, and have chosen our cars accordingly, the legislature is now going to change the rules.

Well, if we need more tax money for roads, I suggest a surcharge based on gas mileage of the vehicle:  lower mpg cars pay most, high mpg cars pay least.  It would fill the need for road improvement funds and also give an incentive to improve our air quality.

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I am amazed at out state govt, Republican oriented which is supposed to be small govt . I don't drive a hybrid yet but want to. Being punished for protecting environment is nuts.

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Thank you so much for bringing this issue to our attention.  I promise to contact my representative and state senator to fight this.  We bought a hybrid 2 years ago,put in solar panels last year, and recycle, even though there is no recycling pick up in our area.  Yes, we save money on gas - but the car cost more and therefore the sale tax was more.  Yes, we save money on our electric bill and received a state tax credit - neither of which covers the expense, but I get a report that explains how we reduced our carbon footprint - no money, but makes us proud.  The recycling takes a lot of extra time - and the small amount of gas to take it to a recycling center, but I feel like it's helping the environment.  So, should we expect a tax on recycling and solar power?  Government at its finest - make it harder to do what's right  and good.  Make it easy to do what's wrong.

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We totally agree with your comments regarding additional taxes on hybrid cars.  We need to reconsider who we send to Raleigh.

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If not paying enough 'Fuel tax' is an issue, What do we do to the people who live in southern Brunswick county and drive to SC to fill up. These people drive on NC roads, live in NC and pay no NC Fuel taxes. Do we make people provide gas receipts? Border crossing guards? Or do we figure out why SC can operate with lower taxes, drop ours and get back our own customers.

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We moved to Wilmington last August, and since then I have always been impressed with your commentaries.  Not only are they informative, but they also come across as heart-felt.

Of course, you shouldn't pay more tax for buying less gas!  That's ridiculous. The NC legislature does not make good or hard decisions.

We need many good jobs with benefits; more help for the unemployed and the discouraged job seekers, not less; more money for our teachers to keep the best in classrooms; tangible support for public education; and a civilized, working relationship with the federal government. 

NC legislators have much more important work to do than what they are currently doing.  For example, who writes in cursive any more?  Honestly, after teaching for 40 years, I know very valuable classroom time needs to be spent on the Common Core Math and English/Language Arts Standards, and I seriously doubt learning cursive writing is one of them!  

Thank you for your insightful commentaries.  I enjoy them.

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You said it perfect this morning.  When I purchased my prius we were being encouraged to "go green" stamp out pollution, save gas because there was a "shortage". I researched the Toyota Prius, drove my neighbors and fell in love with it..I would not have any other car.  I did my duty as to save gas, stamp out pollution plus purchased a car when car sales were down..so I also helped the economy.  Now what do we get for this but greedy government spending wanted to penalize those of  us that purchased a hybrid or an electric car.  I am very against this fee.  I do not think we should have to pay for our governments over spending. Why pick on a select few while there are many that do not pay taxes.

Thank you

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We want to second your thoughts on the current proposal in the State Legislature that would add an extra $50 dollars to the annual renewal fee for hybrid cars.  One of our goals in purchasing a hybrid was to help reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil and to help to save our environment -- most hybrid owners paid a premium price (5-10k additional) to do so. When compared to at least South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, North Carolina already has the highest gasoline tax.  If that's not enough to maintain our highways, then something is very wrong.  Shame on the legislators and shame on you, Dr. Rabon. 

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Yes...next they will say that bicyclists are not contributing enough (like Prius owners) and will require that bikes (who use the roads AND bikepaths) be registered and pay $50 or $100 to do this annually.  Really strange logic this.

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I totally agree that those who are doing the right thing for our environment should NOT be taxed extra for their efforts. They should be praised, to encourage others to follow in their footprints.

Thank you for your comments, please keep it up, maybe someone will come to their senses.

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Seven years ago, I purchased a Prius.  It was not to "save money" on gas, for at the time it was stated that you would have to own your hybrid for approximately 4 years, before you could "break even" on the portion of the auto cost that exceeded most other mid sized cars available at that time.  For me, it was a means to "put my money where my mouth is"; a chance to do something good for the environment, and to, in my own modest way, make an inroad to preserving resources for my children and grandchildren. 

I was satisfied enough that the extra shock to my wallet, was somewhat offset by tax incentives offered by the federal government and by my then home state of South Carolina.

I was mostly proud to be a part of the  government shift of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.  Stricter fuel regulations are in place for each of the next few years, for all manufacturers of autos sold in this country.  It would seem that everyone except for a few North Carolina representatives are aware of this.

We must get away from having to deal with devils, to satisfy our thirst for crude.

I am embarrassed by the shortsighted, backward thinking of my legislators.  To be sure, none will ever have my vote, if this is possible!  I wonder if it ever occurred to any of them to generate some cash by cutting back on non-essential or antiquated programs?  Or to launch a probe into misuse and abuse of some of our social  programs?  Or look in their own backyard to see where perks and junkets might be curtailed. 

Hybrid and electric cars are clean, efficient, friendly to the environment, and currently meeting standards set for the automotive future.   I am sad that "tax, tax, tax" is the mantra taken up by some of the people who told us that they would bring fresh, responsible new ideas, if we would just trust them with our vote.  You might fool me once, but you'll never fool me twice!

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You need to think about what the gas tax pays for....highway maintenance.
Hybrid's have the same effect on maintenance  cost as a 30 mpg all gas car.
If you drive a 30 mpg car 10,000 miles per year you are paying over $150 in gas tax.
If your hybrid saves 1/3 on gas that equals $50.
Going green is a great thing and we all thank you. But the cost of the highways
should be shared equally.

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Thank you for addressing the legislation proposed for taxing hybrid and electric vehicles. We bought a Ford Fusion in 2010, not just to save money, but to help a little with not adding to the carbon emissions. We paid quite a bit more for this car, and paid higher sales tax. This is a ridiculous bill and we hope it never makes any farther than Bill Rabon's imagination!!

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I was listening to the news tonight and heard you speak about the proposed tax on hybrid and electric car owners.   This news comes on the heels of my hearing that there is a proposed prescription medicine tax of 6.5%.  An acquaintance of mine just sent out an email with the following information.  If it is true,  according to an article in the Charlotte Observer, Senator Bob Rucho is quoted as saying "There are good taxes, there are bad taxes".  "A good tax is a consumption-based tax.  Any time you buy a good or service you help the economy.  Also, you have a choice  You can say " I'm not going to buy that product.  I'm going to set (the money) aside".   My blood is boiling.   Seriously?  Surely he's not suggesting that  diabetics, heart patients, people with high blood pressure,  cancer victims , etc...should just choose NOT to buy their medicine?  Then what.....die?   We save the whales, the otters, the fish, the birds...but what about saving the people?   I know this is a rant but taxing items that are life sustaining, not frivolous choices,  is just plain un-American!

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I was disappointed with your complaint about the proposed hybrid tax. It oversimplified a complex issue and was really a one-sided whine.
 
Lower gasoline purchases result in less revenue to maintain roads. You did not make the case that the lower use of fuel equates to less wear and tear on roads per-mile-driven. Why should those using more conventional vehicles and fuel contribute a greater share of the cost of public roads than hybrid drivers do?
 
It would have been more impressive if you offered fairer ways to share the burden of road costs, rather than just claiming that it was "unfair" to the relatively few who use hybrids.
 
Your organization should contribute to solutions, not just stir up discontent by picking low-hanging fruit.
 
Also, your citing Senator Rabon, of whom I am not a fan, was an unnecessary cheap-shot unrelated to the issue.
 
I believe this is a case of the station not earning the right that holding a broadcast license implies.

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Correct me if I am wrong for thinking that gas taxes pay for road maintenance. Hybrids not only use the same roads but (from what I have heard) are actually heavier because of their batteries. In reality they would put more wear on highways compared to the same size gasoline powered car as a consequence. As much as I dislike Rabon, he is right for once.

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I just wanted to let you know that I've been listening to your commentaries for as long as you've been giving them, and honestly, there's not been one yet that I've disagreed with. Love WECT & your commentaries.

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