Scott Tibbs
blog post
October 6th, 2005

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Todd Rokita speaks on campus

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita spoke to the IU Republican Women last night. He gave a very good speech, and I was encouraged to hear him express concern with the attitude that government is the first place we look to for relief in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Instead of getting our own hands dirty, we look to a third party to do it for us.

Secretary Rokita played a large role in getting the State Legislature to pass a law requiring voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. During the question and answer session, I got to ask Secretary Rokita about election reform. The question I posed was whether or not people should be required to vote where they pay their automobile excise taxes.

Now, I think IU students should pay excise taxes in Monroe County anyway, because students put more of a strain on Monroe County roads than they do in their home counties. If students paid their taxes here instead of their home counties, it would help local infrastructure needs.

But what about changing election laws so that you have to vote where you pay your excise taxes? If you pay your excise taxes to Steuben County, you vote there, but if you pay your excise taxes in Monroe County, you vote here. Secretary Rokita raised legitimate concerns about this being an unconstitutional "poll tax". I respectfully disagree with Secretary Rokita in that I do not think this proposal qualifies as a "poll tax". This is because those taxes are already being paid; the question is where those taxes are paid.

It is true that students already pay taxes in Monroe County, and at one time I disagreed with requiring people to vote where they pay their excise taxes because of that. However, I have been rethinking that and I do not think it is an unreasonable proposal.