Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taxed to death

It’s no secret that many truckers – like many other Americans – face so many different taxes, so many things pulling away bits of their income, that they feel taxed to death.

But truckers have specific concerns, and face specific challenges on this topic not faced by other Americans.

On top of the typical income, sales and property taxes, truckers have federal fuel tax, IFTA, IRP fees, 2290s, and on and on. And that’s if you don’t count the most insidious tax of all – tolls.

One trucker asked the obvious question: How many times do I have to pay for the same road before it’s really paid for?

Truckers are not alone in caring about this. We do here at OOIDA, and we’re working hard to fix as much of this problem as we can.

The fact is, truckers pay as much as 36 percent of the money going into the federal Highway Trust Fund. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t 36 percent of the traffic.

One of the first things we’re working toward is to make sure the road taxes you do pay really do go toward roads.

If they were spent on roads, instead of being diverted to other purposes, the government, state, local or federal, wouldn’t need more of your money.

The question that trucker asked me – how many times do I have to pay for the same road before it’s really paid for? – is a good one. And we’re asking it all the time. But to arrive at a real solution, we need your help.

Call your members of Congress, and tell them all the taxes and fees you pay. Explain it all, including the extra tax if you ever buy a new truck. Explain how it’s supposed to be used to pay for the roads you use.

Make sure they understand that truckers are paying 36 percent of that federal Highway Trust Fund. Stress that all that money is supposed to pay for roads, but doesn’t. And tell them that if they don’t want to spend road money for roads, then they need to stop asking for more.

We need to work together. We are making progress, but the job isn’t finished yet. We intend to keep fighting until we’ve won. We hope you’ll join us.