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On Other Blogs Today: Drones, Tolls, and Taxes

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By Erica C. Barnett January 24, 2013



 1Forbes has an interesting (if dubious) theory about why the Sacramento Kings are probably moving to Seattle: California is "hypertaxed"—which is to say, they, unlike Washington state, have a personal income tax. The wealthiest Californians, including, presumably, Kings players and owners, pay a marginal income tax rate (the rate that applies to income over a million dollars) of more than 10 percent.

"For the Kings, the move to Seattle is one for the win column," Forbes writes. "For Sacramento, it’s yet another loss, provoked by a growth-stifling tax climate." 

Let us all shed a tear, now, for the plight of California's millionaires.

2. At Crosscut, Matt Fikse-Verkerk reports that Seattle residents shouldn't get so worked up about the possibility that the Seattle Police Department will monitor them with airbone drones; they already know where you are anyway, thanks to automatic license plate recognition cameras that scan license plates, check them against offender databases, and retain logs of cars' locations.

Let us all shed a tear, now, for the plight of California's millionaires.Fikse-Verkerk requested the department's entire database of license-plate records to find out what kind of information SPD records. 

One way to get around SPD's surveillance, of course: Don't own a car. 

3. Speaking of cars, Streetsblog reports on a new study by the Tax Foundation that concludes that less than 51 percent of the United States' spending on roads comes from gas taxes, tolls, and other fees levied on drivers. The rest comes from general tax dollars, including property and sales taxes, that everybody pays whether they drive or not.

So can the road warriors please give up their mantra that "drivers pay for the roads they use"?

4. Speaking of paying for roads: Tolls could be coming to I-90, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation's blog, and to I-405, according to the AP.

The I-90 tolls would be aimed at preventing people from avoiding tolls on the 520 bridge by using I-90, to the south, and the tolls on 405 would be intended to reduce traffic levels in the notoriously congested Eastside corridor. 

5. At the Spokesman-Review, Gov. Jay Inslee says the state can implement policies to prevent "leakage" of legalized marijuana over its borders to neighboring states where recreational pot use isn't legal. Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with U.S. AG Eric Holder this week; "leakage" was one of the key issues they discussed. 

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