Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mileage Tax Coming Soon?

As a licensed professional land surveyor, I have an acute awareness of our infrastructure.  Our roads and utilities are aging and no one wants to deal with it. 

President Obama thinks infrastructure maintenance and construction jobs are the answer to our economy even though they are all temporary employment.

Some of my engineering counterparts like the idea of big federal expenditures on our infrastructure and the lucrative contract to be gained.  Indeed, I too could benefit from a Big Dig. 

One of the ideas being promoted by my engineering colleagues is the Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Fee or mileage tax as I prefer to call it. 

There is a notion in the engineering community that the current gas tax just isn't sufficient for keeping up with the wear and tear on our roads because of mileage efficient vehicles and that a usage-based tax is more appropriate.

How quickly we have forgotten one of the principle reasons for implementing the gas tax: to encourage use of public transportation systems. 

Additionally, we have forgotten what we used to do before the gas tax.  Not that long ago, we relied on the general fund to pay for roads. 


President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended a gas tax increase at the federal level last December when it issued its report to America.  The financial "experts" who came up with this recommendation made this argument: The current transportation trust fund is falling behind the government’s outlays, once again requiring transfers from the general fund to cover transportation costs. The commission called for additional gas tax revenues to be dedicated to fully funding the transportation trust funds and therefore eliminating the need for dipping in further to general fund.  The gas tax has freed up funds making it possible for the President and Congress to funding pet projects like wars. 

It could be argued that the best way to prevent unnecessary military conflicts might be to end all of the various special taxes and fees so that Congress must fund domestic  programs ahead of foreign military campaigns with obscure objectives.

A quick internet search of "gas tax" brings up numerous blogs, PR pieces, and reports about why we need a higher gas tax. 

According to http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp California's gas tax is $0.18 per gallon.  Other California gas taxes include a 6% state sales tax and 1.25% county, plus additional local sales taxes and 1.2 cents per gallon state under-ground storage tank (UST) fee.

So, as the gas tax is not quite keeping up with the needed infrastructure repairs, many are looking for the quick fix solution in rate hikes for everything from water, gas, roads, and even emergency services in some jurisdictions.  I don't think raising the gas tax will change anything.  Our same lack of fiscal discipline will soon find us looking to raise taxes elsewhere.

The elephant in the room being ignored are the various allocations from General Funds to cover salaries and benefits.  Locally, in Fullerton California, 80.2% of the General Fund is spent on Public Safety and 69.8% of the City's General Fund is spent paying the Public Safety salaries and benefits (City of Fullerton FY2011-2012 Adopted Budget). 

The question shouldn't be which tax or fee to raise but rather where to cut spending.

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Greg Sebourn

Orange County Bail Bonds

The Beauty of a Storm

The Beauty of a Storm
Orange County, Ca.

My Grandma - A Eulogy

LET'S TALK ABOUT 1914 FOR A MOMENT.



FOR STARTERS, GRANDMA WAS BORN TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1914 IN HER FAMILY'S ATWOOD RANCH HOUSE.



IT IS WORTH NOTING THOSE ALSO BORN IN 1914:

JACK LALANNE

JOE DIMAGGIO

DANNY THOMAS



AND WHO DIED IN 1914:

JOHN MUIR, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST FOR WHICH NUMEROUS ROADS, PARKS, HOTELS, AND NATURE RESERVES ARE NAMED.



IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT IN 1914 WOODROW WILSON SIGNS MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION AND BABE RUTH MAKES HIS MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT WITH THE RED SOX. MOTHER'S DAY AND BASEBALL- TWO OF MY FAVORITES!! (PERHAPS HER NICKNAME "BABE" CAME FROM BABE RUTH???)



GRANDMA WAS BORN INTO A PERIOD OF TIME FILLED WITH TURMOIL. IN JUNE OF 1914 ARCHDUKE FRANZS FERDINAND WAS ASSASSINATED. WITHIN ONE MONTH WORLD WAR I RAGED ACROSS EUROPE. TWO DAYS AFTER HER BIRTH HOWEVER, GERMAN AND BRITISH TROOPS INTERRUPTED WWI TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS. (PERHAPS THEY PAUSE KNOWING THAT A GREAT WOMAN WAS BORNE) WORLD WAR I CONTINUED UNTIL THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES IN 1919.



ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONLY 5 YEARS OLD, SHE SAW THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS CREATED AND THE 19TH AMENDMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN TO VOTE.



SHE LIVED THROUGH MANY NOTABLE EVENTS. LIKE THE 1933 LONG BEACH EARTHQUAKE OR WHEN ATWOOD FLOODED ALONG WITH MOST OF ORANGE COUNTY IN 1938 AND THE FLOOD-WATERS CLAIMED MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE, 43 OF WHICH WERE FROM ATWOOD! ALL OF THIS DURING A TIME THAT WE READ ABOUT IN SCHOOL AND KNOWN AS "THE GREAT DEPRESSION". SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF THAT SHE FOUND THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, GRANDPA LEO, GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL, GOT MARRIED, AND HAD KIDS!



THEN THERE WAS WORLD WAR II. FROM PEARL HARBOR TO HIROSHIMA, GRANDMA WAS RAISING MY UNCLE BOB AND MOM ARLINE. WITH AIR-RAID SIRENS AND BLACKOUTS SHE WAS A WIFE AND MOTHER. WHAT A TIME TO RAISE CHILDREN! I BET GRANDMA'S PARENTS WERE ABEL TO TELL HER A THING OR TWO ABOUT RAISING KIDS IN WARTIME.



GRANDMA WAS THERE WHEN THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA HELD THEIR 3RD ANNUAL NATIONAL JAMBOREE IN 1953. SHE SAW AIRBASES OPEN IN '42 AND CLOSE IN '99. SHE WATCHED WALTER KNOTT START UP HIS BERRY FARM AND WALT DISNEY TURN ORANGE GROVES AND STRAWBERRY PATCHES INTO DISNEYLAND!



SHE SAW THE HORSE AND CARRIAGE FADE AWAY INTO HISTORY AND SPACE TRAVEL EXPLODE BEFORE HER WITH THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. JUST IMAGINE HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS. FROM TUBE RECTIFIERS TO SUPERCONDUCTORS; FROM TRANS-ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLES TO SATELLITE TV.



SHE SAW MORE IN HER 93 YEARS THAN MOST OF US WILL EVER READ ABOUT, LET ALONE LIVE THROUGH!



OF THOSE 93 YEARS IT IS MY HONOR TO HAVE BEEN HER GRANDSON FOR 35 OF THEM. SHE WAS MY MOTHER WHEN MOM HAD TO WORK. SHE WIPED MY NOSE AND PUT FOOD IN MY MOUTH. SHE LET ME PLAY WITH GRANDPA EVEN THOUGH SHE NEEDED HIM TO TAKE HER TO THE STORE. SHE WAS MY GRANDMA AND I WILL MISS HER IMMENSELY.



JUST LOOK AROUND THIS ROOM; SHE DID THIS. SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE INTO THIS WORLD AND TOGETHER TODAY. THIS IS HER LEGACY.



A Dedication To My Loving Wife, Stacey. Thank you for all you do for me!

Brad Paisley - I Thought I Loved You Then


I remember trying not to stare the night that I first met you
You had me mesmerized
3 weeks later in the front porch light taking 45 min to kiss you goodnight
I hadn’t told you yet but I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I remember taking you back to right where I first met you
You were so surprised
There were people around
But I didn’t care I got down on one knee right there
And once again I thought I loved you then

Chorus
Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it’s ever been
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I can just see you with a baby on the way
I can just see you when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before.

Now you’re my whole life now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you girl
Well look back some day at this moment that we’re in
And I'll look at you and say I thought I loved you then
And I thought I loved you then...

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