Readers Speak Out

Thanks, Tim!

Thank you (Equipment Editor Tim Barton) for your timely information on 53-foot trailers. My company recently bought an abundance of them. Every May through June the number of automobiles on the highways seem to double. I believe we are reaching critical mass. We need an alternative fuel source – electric engines. Can you imagine the quiet and the coolness without heat-generating fossil fuel?

Each year always brings a new batch of drivers. These past few years they are more daring risk-takers. A few have risked my life. This time of year also brings more tired drivers – vacant-eyed and dangerous drivers. The number of trucks in accidents must be increasing.

You, Tim Barton, address these things in your column. You are appreciated. There are a lot of hard working men and women on the highways. We don’t talk much on the CB, we back off and let the other guy go first, we are polite to the equally hardworking service people we encounter. We are honest and give ‘a days work for a days pay.’ We don’t curse and talk like asinine idiots on a public airway. We don’t foul the area we park in with urine bottles, tires, pallets or our personal garbage. We don’t steal from anybody at any given opportunity, and we don’t constantly complain about everything while doing nothing to improve ourselves.

Unfortunately, the latter group is the loudest and most visible. Tim, perhaps you will inspire us with your editorials. Meanwhile, I’ll keep on trucking.

Bonita Roper
Victorville, Calif.

Draining Us Dry

A recent court ruling prohibits trucking companies based in Arkansas and other states from registering trucks in Oklahoma and taking advantage of a legal tax break available to the small trucking company.

However, the taxes returning to Arkansas will be a fraction of what the state claims to be losing. Large companies based in Arkansas have terminals in Oklahoma and other states, giving them the opportunity to purchase their base plates in those states. However, those affected are the small companies, such as mine, which face being forced out of business in light of the tax bills and penalties the state of Arkansas is ready to hand out:

  1. Arkansas plans on collecting sales tax on a truck I do not own. I lease my truck and the leasing company’s name is on the title.
  2. Arkansas will penalize me 10 percent of the sales tax, just because I registered my truck in Oklahoma, a practice that was legal for me to do until the recent court ruling.
  3. Arkansas is going back three years on the small owner/ operator to collect three years back property and sales taxes on property legally registered in Oklahoma.
  4. Many truck owners will be blasted out of business because of the tax bills, supported by Rep. Joyce Dees, who co-sponsored HR 1842, giving severe penalties on tickets given to truck drivers in order to pay the “lost revenue” of trucking companies base plating in Oklahoma.
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Now that we are forced to base plate in Arkansas, will HR 1842 be repealed? Thinking Rep. Dees represented the citizens of her district, my wife spoke with her regarding the tax bill looming its dark head over my company. Rep. Dees became hostile, accusing me of “not wanting to pay my fair share of taxes!”

Regarding my tax obligation, I pay increased property taxes on my home, land, personal vehicle and other belongings. I pay taxes on my telephone, cell phone, electric bill, sales tax on every purchase, self employment tax, fuel taxes in 48 states, weight distance tax in New Mexico, New York and Kentucky, ad velour tax on my equipment in Arkansas, Kentucky and Kansas charge me personal property tax on my truck and trailer because “they can.” I pay yearly Federal Highway Use tax and state and federal income tax, workmen’s compensation tax, FICA and Medicare. I will seek every tax break possible in order to stay in business, like any smart, intelligent businessman would do. We have politicians, who see hardworking Americans as an endless money supply they can rob to pay for socialist welfare programs.

Perhaps before passing yet another tax or tax increase, Rep. Dees and others need to try to live without anything delivered by truck, whether delivered by the long-haul driver, gravel truck driver, chip truck driver, log truck driver or local and regional delivery truck driver. Do not accept delivery from anything that comes by truck. That is how life will be when we are taxed out of existence.

Mark R. Taylor
Warren, Ark.

Magazine Fan

I really enjoy reading your magazine when I can pick it up at the Petro truckstop in West Memphis, Ark. I am an ex-driver who, because of a medical condition, is unable to work and I read your magazine and other trucking magazines to keep up on the industry. I especially like the cover stories and the Mark Twain Essay contest stories.

Gary French
Lafe, Ark.