Shaler Stidham Jr.: The real reason

May 25, 2013 

The real reason

The Republican-led N.C. Senate has proposed a surcharge on electric and hybrid cars. This proposal fails to meet one of the most basic principles of conservative political philosophy: Those who benefit more from government programs should pay more for these benefits.

Traditionally gasoline taxes have been used to pay for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. This system has had the advantage that, at least approximately, those who drive more pay more in taxes. If the Senate is really interested in establishing a closer tie between the use of roads and the taxes and fees paid, it should consider a system that ties these taxes and fees to the number of miles driven, rather than singling out one type of vehicle for punishment.

Conservatives often criticize the government for “picking winners.” The proposed surcharge on electric and hybrid cars is an example of “picking losers” and for this reason it should be equally repugnant to a true conservative.

Could it be that the Republicans in the Senate have chosen this approach because they think that most electric and hybrid car owners are Democrats?

Shaler Stidham Jr.

Raleigh

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