The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is commending the action of New Mexico’s governor to veto a bill that called for assessing an additional fee for truckers using the state’s roadways.
Gov. Susana Martinez acted on Friday, April 7, to thwart an attempt by the legislature to raise various taxes and fees, including a 10-cent increase in the state’s fuel tax rates.
In her veto letter, Martinez said HB202 “raises and makes more regressive the motor vehicle excise tax, the special fuels tax, and creates two new high-dollar fees, among other attempts to raise revenue.”
Instead, the Republican governor encouraged bipartisan collaboration on a tax reform bill during the upcoming special session.
OOIDA was opposed to a provision in the lengthy bill to add a permit tax of $90. The tax was intended to cover state expenses to issue weight-distance tax identification permits.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to the governor one week before her veto that the legislation included “a discriminatory and unconstitutional ‘permit tax’ of $90.” He said the Legislature was essentially proposing to tax the existing weight-distance tax.
“In other words, they want to tax the tax.”
The Association viewed HB202 as very similar to the New York Highway Use Tax.
“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,” Matousek said.
The New York state Supreme Court struck down New York’s HUT following a lawsuit by OOIDA.
Matousek said the Association opposed the tax included in HB202 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 9 cents per mile. But a truck traveling 5,000 miles in the state during the same year would pay an effective tax rate of 2 cents per mile.
OOIDA also opposed a provision in the bill to increase the administrative tax from $5 to $10.
In a follow-up letter sent to the governor Tuesday, April 11, Matousek thanked Martinez for “doing the right thing.”
“On behalf of our 158,000 members nationwide, please accept our sincerest appreciation for vetoing House Bill 202.”
Land Line Associate Editor Greg Grisolano contributed to this report.
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