Tag Archive: State of Oregon

Doesn’t the Declaration of Independence provide for life, liberty and the happiness of pumping our own gas?

There is certain joy that comes from feeling the surging petroleum rocket from the pump directly into my little green chariot. This Freude is kosher in the State of Washington and in California.

But what about that state in between?

Since 1951, it has been Verboten for a mere mortal motorist to pump his or her own gas in the State of Oregon. This antiquated 20th Century law requires petroleum transfer engineers (e.g., popular major at Oregon State University), and only PTEs to exchange fluids in the Beaver State.

What’s that Elon Musk?

Are you saying that EVs could spell doom to the PTEs?

The first affordable Tesla Model 3s are coming off the production lines in Fremont, California (the old NUMMI plant). The initial plans call for 110,000 this year and 500,000 next year.

From $35,000 upwards to $60,000 with all the fixins’, the intrepid all-electric motorist can roar from zero-to- 60 mph in 5.6 seconds with just a tap on the dashboard tablet without omitting one fossil fuel particle into the atmosphere.

Elon Musk, CEO of US automotive and energy storage company Tesla, presents his outlook on climate change at the Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris on December 2, 2015. / AFP / ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

How’s that sound green Oregonians?

Even a Prius requires a PTE now-and-then. And despite all the hype and owner strutting, the Toyota hybrid still contributes to Climate Change. The proud owner may still be gluten free, but his or her precious Prius is nonetheless putting CO² into the air.

In contrast, the Tesla Model 3 can travel 220-to-310 miles on one charge of electricity. What does that mean to Oregon’s PTEs (same for New Jersey’s legally mandated PTEs)? Are each of you heading for the same crash landing as those who made buggy whips?

Electronic vehicles make PTEs as uncomfortable as a former sales dude or sales dudette at Borders as the imposing Amazon digital shadow hovered over the bricks-and-mortar store. Did you have that out-of-print book, Borders? Do you sell that obscure concerto, Barnes & Noble? Amazon does (Google “Long Tail” Theory”) as there are no physical restraints on its inventory.

Maybe the Oregon PTEs will unionize (if that haven’t already) and march into Salem (not the one where they burned witches) and ask for a new law requiring ETEs (Electricity Transfer Engineers) to recharge EVs in Oregon.

Wait a minute? Oregon could actually mandate that ETEs recharge your Climate Change friendly EV? Don’t bet against it.

Think of it this way, if the state Legislature in its infinite wisdom for 66 years and counting required PTEs to pump gas into each car and expressly forbids the motorist from doing the same, then what’s to prevent them from requiring highly trained electricity transfer engineers (ETEs) to recharge your EV Tesla, Volvo, BMW, Chevy etc.?

What’s next? Will the state mandate an ETE to plug in your toaster or change a light bulb?

Incentives Today; Taxes Tomorrow

Immediately south of Oregon, the Golden State’s one-party Legislature is weighing adopting the California Electric Vehicle Initiative, which would designate $3 billion for larger rebates for those who purchase Tesla and other electric cars.

In April, the same Legislature passed legislation raising California’s gas tax by 12 cents to 30 cents per gallon.

Let’s see the state is considering incentivizing EVs to the tune of $3 billion. And nearly at the same time raising gas taxes to raise $5.2 billion.

What happens if the EV revolution is real and a precipitous decline in fossil-burning vehicles ensues? Does that mean gas revenues will simultaneously decline? Oh dear.

And does that lead to actually taxing EV recharges even though these environmentally friendly cars have been incentivized by the state?

What’s more important in Sacramento and other state capitals? The environment? Tax revenues?

Seems like a silly question to even ask.












Is the return of the red robin the true harbinger of spring?

How about azaleas at Augusta with a Tiger lurking in the rough?

Or how about millions of taxpayers struggling with the effects of 70,000 pages of federal tax code (before the impact of Obamacare), up just a tad from the 400 pages that existed in 1913?

Presidents may come and presidents may go, but the Internal Revenue Service is forever. This week’s edition of the Economist www.economist.com provides a simply numbing set of stats about the growth of complexity associated with filing tax returns by April 15.

Quick: Which American industry is six times larger than the other? Tax preparation or automotive design and manufacture?

According to the British business “newspaper,” Americans spend 7.5 billion hours annually grappling with the tax code. Here’s another way of looking at the same stat, America employs the equivalent of 3.8 million people or the same as every man, woman and child in the State of Oregon to fill out tax returns . . . That’s right a whole state, everyone in Portland, Eugene, even Corvallis…all devoted to doing nothing else during the course of a work year than preparing taxes.

The result of this complexity and exploding tax codes is that 60 percent of American taxpayers hire tax accountants or attorneys and 22 percent use tax-preparation software. Regardless of whether the economy is expanding or contracting, the government still wants its money. So does this growing dependency on tax accountants, attorneys and software result in recession-proof brands?

Here’s one for consideration, H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) http://www.hrblock.com/company/index.html, which has been around since the year that I was born (shortly after the earth cooled) and prepares one out of every seven American tax returns. The company describes itself in this manner: “The world’s largest tax preparation business, employing 100,000 tax professionals and having served more than 500 million clients. Brothers Henry W. Bloch and Richard A. Bloch founded the company in 1955 and grew the business to become a brand and franchising icon.”

And here’s another tax-complexity related brand, Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) which provides its “Turbo Tax” software http://turbotax.intuit.com/?cid=intuit_tt_TY09bottomrail and other application software offerings for consumers and businesses.

Bringing it all together, Americans as a result of 70,000 pages (and growing) of federal tax code are employing the equivalent of the State of Oregon spending 7.6 billion hours annually and hiring a legion of accountants, lawyers and software, which together constitute a business that is six-times the size of the American automobile industry, in order to pay the US Treasury and the coffers of state and local governments.

And the federal government?  Even the head of the IRS, Douglas Shulman, has an accountant to prepare his taxes. And Washington DC now owns General Motors and Chrysler. Go figure.

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