The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking New Mexico’s governor to veto a portion of a bill that would assess an additional fee for truckers traveling in and through the Land of Enchantment.
House Bill 202 is a bill that broadly deals with various taxation issues. At issue for OOIDA specifically is Section 18, which adds a permit tax of $90 in order for the state to issue its weight-distance tax identification permits. If signed into law by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, the new law would go into effect July 1.
The bill breezed through the state Senate by a 34-4 vote on March 11, with all 23 Democrats and 11 Republicans voting in favor. Only four Republicans in the state’s upper chamber voted against the bill. In February it passed the New Mexico House by a vote of 37-32, strictly along party lines. Republicans in the House voted unanimously against the measure.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA state legislative affairs director, says the new permit fee is tantamount to being “a tax on a tax” for truckers operating in and through New Mexico.
“The state is trying to tax a tax,” Matousek said in an interview with Land Line. “We think this is very similar to the New York Highway Use Tax, in that whether you’re based in New Mexico or another state, everybody’s going to be paying that tax. If you run 100 or 10,000 miles, one per mile rate is much higher than the other.”
The New York state Supreme Court struck down New York’s HUT following a lawsuit by OOIDA.
In his letter to Gov. Martinez, Matousek wrote that truckers “already pay their fair share” to support the state’s transportation infrastructure. He said OOIDA opposes the tax not only from a policy standpoint, but because it would be unequally applied to all commercial trucks on a per-mile basis.
A truck traveling 1,000 miles in the state during the calendar year would pay an effective tax rate of $.09 per mile. But a truck traveling 5,000 miles in the state during the same year would pay an effective tax rate of $.02 per mile.
“Small-business truckers are not rolling piggy banks and should not be treated as such,” the letter states. “They literally drive our economy and deliver goods that all Americans depend on every day. Enough is enough.”
OOIDA is also opposed to a stipulation in Section 18 that would increase the administrative tax from $5 to $10.