Featured Wisconsin Hybrid Tax- is it legal?

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by hornigio, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. hornigio

    hornigio Junior Member

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    Wisconsin has doubled the registration fee on hybrids. The rational is that hybrids, because they are more efficient, don't pay as much fuel tax as other vehicles. I cannot argue with that premise, but the legislation ignores the fact that there are scores of other vehicles using the roads with similar or even greater efficiency.

    Readers of this forum are fully aware of those vehicles, I'm sure; the diesels, CNG/NGV's , motorcycles, mopeds and even the now incredibly efficient ICE- only cars like the Versa and Cruze.

    How is this tax- specifically on hybrids- not discriminatory? Is it legal for a state government to tax one citizen for using roads while not paying fees, but not another doing so similarly?

    I know the new Wisconsin law has been discussed on this forum pretty thoroughly up to this point, but I'm hoping someone with a legal background can tell me whether this legislation would stand up in court.
     
  2. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    A better way to fight current legislation including the local wheel tax I pay on my ev and hybrid would be to use existing laws that contradict the current one.
    And I quote...

    Your alternative fuel is safe from certain taxes. According to Wisconsin Statutes 78.82, counties, cities, towns, villages, and other subdivisions cannot charge any of the following taxes on purchasing, selling, handling, or consuming alternative fuels:
    • Excise.
    • License.
    • Privilege.
    • Occupational.
    I believe the intent of that law was that alternative fuel vehicles of which an EV is very much alternative should not pay those taxes listed above, I doubt the writers even considered that the state might instead charge the banned fees above.

    The state can pretty much legally tax any way it wants.

    They could for example tax only red cars , they could also probably tax just Prius by name and still get away with it.

    If they were to tax an entire brand then that is where they would run a ground.

    That said I would hope that a legislature that taxes "red cars" specifically would face extreme prejudice and be pressured to revoke the law.

    Ah well, too much stupid in this state to really get any leighway on this topic .
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it would be a long expensive slog through the courts to trey an overturn it. maybe contact the aclu?
     
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    More is afoot: Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case : The Two-Way : NPR

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander."

    It's the first time in more than a decade that the nation's highest court will take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, or drawing voting districts with the aim of strengthening one political party.
    . . .

    A more detailed report: Gerrymandering Is On Trial | FiveThirtyEight

    Is partisan gerrymandering constitutional? And if not, how is it to be measured? Those are the questions at the heart of one of the most consequential Supreme Court cases of the year, which the justices will hear next week. How the court answers those questions in the case, Gill v. Whitford, has the potential to fundamentally change how we build our representative democracy.

    Later this fall, FiveThirtyEight is launching an audio documentary series about the challenges of reforming the redistricting process in America. Traditionally, state lawmakers redraw the maps that determine the races in which you vote after the census every 10 years. Reformers want to change who draws the maps and/or the criteria for drawing them. One of the episodes of our series focuses on the gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court. Rather than keep it in our pocket until after the case is heard, we wanted to share it with you ahead of oral arguments, which are on Oct. 3. So here it is! Listen here or subscribe to the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast feed.

    For our non-USA fans, it works by one of two techniques:
    • draw the political borders to make 'ghettos' of the majority party voters
    • draw the political borders so majority party voters are diluted to minority party districts
    Both techniques were used in Wisconsin which means it takes a sea-change election to reverse. But the right answer is to draw district borders so representative government is balanced between both parties.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  5. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    Discrimination is ALL around you in a multitude of forms.
    It is not all bad.

    Might as well bite the bullet and get used to these kinds of taxes. OTR semi's pay HUGE taxes because they beat up the roads.

    AND.....the states have to get $$$ somewhere to keep the roads up.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with these "high efficiency" taxes. We all need to pay our share of infrastructure maintanance.

    They are MAKING tax law. Few if any tax laws are ever touched by the courts.
     
  6. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    And I think that is EXACTLY the intent and purpose; to keep it all for the State.
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Fair taxes makes sense. So make these fees universal and reduce the gas tax rate proportional to the new revenue coming in.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  8. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Right,

    The "local" semis in this state and large land cruisers and large equipment that go between certain farms, certain forest lands, and certain sand mines are road tax excempt , they don't even pay sales tax.

    I take very strong issue that I'm penalized for being efficient while 200000 lb gross offenders pay nothing for wrecking the non state funded county roads I typically drive on. I rarely touch a state highway.

    There are a lot of folks who when forced to pay their "fair share " as you define it, will do what's necessary to avoid paying tax altogether.

    In my case I own several vehicles that don't drive far my stable of cars will turn into one or possibly none removing that revenue

    I own several antique vehicles which pay no tax and require no annual plates to drive.

    Push comes to shove I'll pay more on maintenance to avoid a political fee I morally object to.

    My 66mpg Subaru 360 and 1981 c car only drive a few hundred miles a year, they might have to once again become my only vehicles.
     
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  9. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    You expect politicians to think logically......and that far ahead of the immediate problem ?? :ROFLMAO:

    There is nothing inherently "unfair" about getting some money out of some drivers some way other than through fuel taxes.
    Unless, of course, it would result in them paying a LOT more than everybody else.
     
  10. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    What constitutes a "local semi" and what is a "large land cruiser" ?

    I find this a little hard to swallow unless they are strictly "off road" vehicles that just happen to cross a paved road occasionally for a few feet or a few miles.
     
  11. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    What is unfair is that a non-hybrid car that gets 40 mpg is not taxed while a hybrid car that gets 40 mpg is taxed.

    Mike
     
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  12. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    It's not that simple,

    I don't mind paying my fair share as long as others that also use the roads also pay such as big farm equipment that use the roads to get different places too. they are tax exempt. Who may receive a refund of motor vehicle fuel tax paid?

    Off-Road Usage of Motor Vehicle Fuel [sec. 78.75, Wis. Stats.]

    Wisconsin law provides that motor vehicle fuel is not subject to the Wisconsin motor vehicle fuel tax when it is used for off-road purposes in mobile machinery and equipment. Exceptions: It is subject to the motor vehicle fuel tax when placed into licensed motor vehicles used for off-road purposes, snowmobiles, recreational motorboats, and all-terrain vehicles (unless the ATV is registered for private use).

    Farmers, construction companies, and logging operations often have off-road usage of motor vehicle fuel in non-licensed mobile machinery and equipment. Waste management, ready-mix, liquid waste (e.g., septic service), and utility companies have licensed vehicles with power take-off (PTO) units that share the same fuel supply tank used to power the vehicle. These companies can receive a refund of the motor vehicle fuel tax paid on fuel placed into the vehicles and used by PTO units. The following percentages have been approved by the department when computing the fuel tax refund attributable to PTO units:
    waste management - 30%

    ready-mix - 35%

    liquid waste companies - 15%

    boom and derrick/digger trucks - 15% if 20,000 gross vehicle weight or less

    30% if greater than 20,000 GVW

    Refund claims must be filed within one year of the date fuel is purchased, and must cover at least 100 gallons. To obtain a refund of the fuel tax paid on motor vehicle fuel used for off-road purposes, file Form MF-001. This form may be filed electronically through My Tax Account or by paper.
    Vendors of Motor Vehicle Fuel [sec. 78.01(2r)(a), Wis. Stats., and Wis. Administrative Code sec. Tax 4.65]

    Wisconsin law allows a tax deduction or refund to persons who sell tax-paid gasoline and undyed diesel fuel for exempt usage (see the exceptions above). Fuel suppliers licensed with the department may claim a deduction for exempt sales on their monthly fuel supplier's reports. However, non-licensed fuel vendors must register with the department (Form MF-112), and then file refund claims (Forms MF-012) for the motor vehicle fuel tax they pay suppliers on fuel which the vendors subsequently sell tax-exempt. Exempt sales must be documented via a fuel tax exemption certificate (Form MF-209) executed and retained by both vendor and customer. Refund claims must be filed within 4 years from the date fuel is purchased.
    Taxicabs [sec. 78.75, Wis. Stats.]

    Wisconsin law provides that persons who use motor vehicle fuel in operating a taxicab to transport passengers may receive a refund of the Wisconsin fuel tax paid. Vehicles used as taxicabs must be designated as "Vehicle has or will be used for public transportation (taxi)" on the motor vehicle registration form (MV-1) filed with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Refund claims must be filed within one year of the date fuel is purchased, and must cover at least 100 gallons. To obtain a refund, contact the department at (608) 266-6701 for the Form MF-001, Fuel Tax Refund Claim.
    Retailers [sec. 78.20, Wis. Stats.]

    Wisconsin law provides that any person who operates a retail service station may claim a refund of one-half of 1% of the Wisconsin motor vehicle fuel tax paid on gasoline received into that person's retail storage facilities. This refund is designed to compensate for shrinkage and evaporation losses. Refund claims must be filed within one year of the date fuel is purchased. To obtain a refund, file Form MF-004, Retailers Claim for Gasoline Tax Refund through My Tax Account or by completing a paper fill-in form.
     
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  13. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    OK you got me there.
    Figure out a better system and contact your State legislators.
     
  14. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    OK, you seem to have a perfect example there of big businesses exerting undue influence on the legislative process and you should be screaming about it to make a change.

    EXCEPT when you add farm machinery into the mix.
    In most cases, they actually use the highways very few miles in a year. 10.....20......even 50.......A YEAR.

    And in a "farm" state trying to change the fuel tax exemption for farmers would be next to suicide.

    Keep it real and I can agree with you.
     
  15. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    This isn't 1960, I have farm relatives farms now days can cover a hundred miles.

    http://epdfiles.engr.wisc.edu/pdf_web_files/tic/crossroads/xrds_2012_2.pdf

    http://www.intrans.iastate.edu/publications/_documents/t2summaries/201208TS.pdf

    So The local county road crews that are bitching disagree with you.
    Per them...
    There is a continuous stream of large off-road equipment driving between sand mine properties and around me I'm passing at least 2 oversized farm implements on my way to work everyday.

    They claim all major road damage in specific areas is due to off road equipment.

    The issue has made the news but the state has no interest in bothering with fees on mines, oversized farm or forestry equipment.
     
    #15 Rmay635703, Sep 30, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  16. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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  17. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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  18. hornigio

    hornigio Junior Member

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    If this is the case, then would it be legal to tax only people with blue eyes? I don't think so.

    We've determined already that WI politics is a cesspool and the rules vary, especially when it comes to business machinery. BUT I still don't feel like the root of my question has been answered:
    Is it legal to tax one vehicle because it is efficient and not another with identical efficiency?
     
  19. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    You've determined the catch

    A car is not a legally protected class

    If a car were a person than no but since a car isn't they can tax any aspect of it with as much prejudice as they want.

    Just like HOAs can block EVs due to hidden politics within the HOA
    Heck HOAs can also ban lights, decorations and pretty much operate amorally too just like politicians.
     
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    ever since the pols overcame the taxation without representation issue, they've pretty much been able to do as they please.
    i doubt a 'discrimination' case would hold up, because they will just say low mpg vehicles are already being discriminated against.
    unless you get a good progressive judge.
     
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