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Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.

 

Flex-SCREWED

Flexcar is being forced by the Washington Department of Revenue to charge its members "rental car tax" beginning October 1. Upon hearing this yesterday I immediately wrote to my state senator, my state representatives (although Zack Hudgins should be ashamed to represent residents of Seattle without providing an e-mail contact or a phone number where constituents can leave voice mail for him! Join the 21st century, Rep. Hudgins!), and appealed to the City of Seattle through their Office of Sustainability and Environment to apply the necessary political pressure and exempt Flexcar from this tax.

My view is that Flexcar and other car-sharing services are not "car rental" businesses in the traditional sense. Car sharing programs are overwhelmingly used by local residents. Flexcar provides a community service and should be encouraged by state and local government that proports to be interested in conservation, reducing traffic congestion, or making Seattle "a model of healthy, ecologically sustainable urban living." Back in April, King County Executive Ron Sims said "...we believe itís important that people take public transportation, and as neighborhoods densify, that there actually be at times cars available for those unique times, when you canít take the bus to a doctor appointment, or a dental appointment...". Instead, car sharing participants are disincentivized from participating by the application of an 18.7% tax! Outrageous and completely wrongheaded.

This tax will add $75 a month to my typical Flexcar bill. The result will be that I will be less likely to use Flexcar and more and more tempted to just go back to car ownership. How many of the other 20,000 Flexcar users in the Seattle area are going to face a similar decision? This is not the direction the State and local politicians claim they want things to be moving and should be vigorously opposed.

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