February 22, 2004

The People's Republic of Berkeley

Those wacky Trotskites are at it again.

Berkeley steers toward creating car tax

Berkeley's passionate hate affair with the automobile is heating up.

Seeking to squeeze cash out of conspicuous consumers and packrats to help ease its budget crunch, the city of speed bumps and neighborhood traffic barriers is trying to figure out a way to do something unprecedented: tax residents who own multiple cars.

Mayor Tom Bates said, "If we had the option, we'd do it in a heartbeat. We feel cars are a luxury that is expensive for the community."

Berkeley Councilman Kriss Worthington, who doesn't own a car and rides a bike to City Hall, said he brought the idea to colleagues after hearing complaints for years. He estimates that the tax would apply to only a few hundred of the city's 103,000 residents.

Do the homes behind Councilman Worthington look like abodes of the rich to you? The cars in question are certainly not Bentleys or Ferraris.

The neighborhoods between Adeline and Hwy 80, are low income, with many extended families and students sharing houses with multiple cars. Perhaps Worthington doesn't need a car, but people working outside Berkeley do. The public transportation between East Bay cities is laborious, inefficent and bus stops and BART stations are very unsafe after dark.

UC Berkeley Professor Alan Auerbach, director of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, predicted that the tax would be impossible to levy -- whether it targets individuals with multiple cars or households with extra cars.

"People have different household arrangements, and you could imagine it as a tax on hard-working people," he said. "It's not a crazy motivation, but it's hard to see how they could make it work."

And people will cheat the system, said Glenn Oliveria, the 56-year-old owner of a Berkeley garage that services Alpha Romeos and Ferraris.

"They will say, 'My cat has a car, my dog has a car,' " he said. "The rich will find loopholes."

No, asshat, try not to bite the hand that feeds you, the rich will simply pay it or store their extra cars, but students, middle class and the working poor will be unfairly taxed as they have no options.

Posted by feste at February 22, 2004 10:59 AM | TrackBack

I tell ya, you had been get outa
town FAST. Your time's up.


Posted by: jaspar at February 22, 2004 05:19 PM

Actually my address is Oakland, we're in a small topographical pocket of sanity in the Bezerkeley Hills.

Posted by: feste at February 22, 2004 06:37 PM
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