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  1. #1
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    Dateline Olympia WA: $25 bike purchase tax considered

    Not paying your "fair share"? Add $25 to the purchase of your next bicycle.

    Gas, car-tab taxes drive House Dems’ transportation plan | Local News | The Seattle Times

  2. #2
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    Wow, that is completely ridiculous. While I dont mind paying my fair share in taxes, being penalized for riding my bike seems assinine.

  3. #3
    Pedal Damn It!
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    Basically, if you buy a mountain Bike to ride on the trails or off road and have no intentions on commuting, you will still be charged the $25 fee when purchasing the bike. This is one of the stupidest laws I've ever heard of. Washington State messed up when they dropped the vehicle registration fees to $30 over 10 years ago and now the state lawmakers are trying to recover from a terrible decision. The roads are falling apart due to cars, trucks, and a lack of repairs. Bicycles have nothing to do with the deteriorating road system. I'm glad I no longer live in Washington.

  4. #4
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    Dateline Olympia WA: $25 bike purchase tax considered

    Using that logic, motorists shouldn't have to pay for bike lanes or signage.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dateline Olympia WA: $25 bike purchase tax considered

    Maybe it's the increasing popularity of people commuting on fat bikes. They can really tear up the road. Personally I would have no problems paying the $25 if it meant I could safely ride on the road. No matter how much we pay though most motorists will always believe we don't belong on the street.

  6. #6
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    Meh, just some rubbish excuse to tax cyclists to placate motorists.

  7. #7
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    Hmm, between my wife and I we own 2 cars, 1 commercial truck and 9 bikes. I have absolutely no doubt that I am paying my share. I commute by car about 10-20 times a year. I'm thinking that doesn't put a lot of wear and tear on them.

  8. #8
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    Yet more decline in my home state that I used to love. It is sad to be on the outside looking in at the destruction occuring.
    2012 Rockhopper 29er.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    They have to do it. There`s no way to tax the true overusers because bunnies have no money.

    Yeah, it does sound sucky, but it looks like a one time fee for a bike purchase. The proposed tolls and increased gas tax would be taking a bigger chunk of dough from the people actually driving rather than higher reg fees for vehicles sitting in the garage while their registered owners are pedalling their way to work and back. Something, at least.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
    MTB, Road, Commuting
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    I find it funny that the federal government offers a tax credit for bike commuters and the state wants to tax them. For a net gain of bigger government, more paperwork and more complicated tax laws.

    (Although I'm not sure that anybody has ever successfully collected the federal tax benefit because you need a participating employer and the added paperwork more than offsets any positives for anything but the largest companies.)

  11. #11
    Squeaky Wheel
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    The gas tax here in Washington State is used as the primary way to fund road construction. Because of higher gas prices and increased vehicle efficiency the revenue derived from the gas tax is decreasing. So a certain group of state reps is proposing a big hike in the gas tax and are also casting the net as wide as they can for other revenue sources such as raising the car tab fee (which was voted down to $30/year in a state-wide referendum ten years back) and this bike tax. There is a long way to go between here and there and a lot of this will get negotiated away and the bike tax may or may not stick (my guess is probably not).

  12. #12
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I find it funny that the federal government offers a tax credit for bike commuters and the state wants to tax them.
    The federal govt also sponsored a different program a few years ago to get people to buy a lot of new cars. Don`t tell me you already forgot about that! Maybe they just like to see people in motion, not interrested in what method they move by.
    Recalculating....

  13. #13
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I liked BikeSnobNYC's take on this one:

    "This makes sense, because your bike doesn't burn any gasoline and it puts almost no strain on the infrastructure--and certainly none at all on all those highways were bikes aren't even allowed. Also, it makes even more sense to tax only the more expensive bikes, since those are generally the ones used recreationally by people who already own cars anyway, which means they might as well put the tax on windsurfing boards for all it has to do with transportation. Most importantly, you can't have drivers feeling singled out, even though they're the ones burning the gas and wearing out the roads and causing gridlock and keeping the government busy by crashing into each other all the time and forcing the police to respond to their stupid emergencies. Then, after all this, they're only going to raise $1 million over 10 years, which is a joke, since these days your average hipster can probably raise that much money on Kickstarter to fund a "zine" about pickling. Yes, clearly the bicycle tax is included for "largely symbolic reasons," and that symbol is "f*** you for riding a bike.""
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  14. #14
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    I can only guess by the objections voiced here that there is no biking infrastructure in Olympia, Washington - no bike lanes, no paved off-road bike paths, no MTB trails, nothing. Because if there is, people surely wouldn't be complaining about the city looking for ways to fund said infrastructure.

    I pay $25 or more per month in gas taxes, and I don't drive much. That money goes (or should go) to maintaining the roads and infrastructure required for me to drive my car. I don't pay gas taxes for my bike, but I enjoy a lot of infrastructure on my bike, from bike lanes (sorry, your bike may not wear it down much, but putting that extra asphalt there in the first place wasn't free) to paved off-road bike paths to some truly excellent MTB trails in our county parks. Maybe things are just different where I live.

    Perhaps people would prefer the alternative method of revenue generation used to fill shortcomings in the driving infrastructure budgets - fines. I'm sure the local constabulary would be happy to write a ticket every time you don't put a foot down at a stop sign in order to make up for lack of funds.

    I get that there are lots of things people don't want to pay taxes for. I don't get people balking at paying taxes for things they actually use. Feel free to enlighten me why people who ride bikes should be exempt from that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTex91 View Post
    I can only guess by the objections voiced here that there is no biking infrastructure in Olympia, Washington - no bike lanes, no paved off-road bike paths, no MTB trails, nothing. Because if there is, people surely wouldn't be complaining about the city looking for ways to fund said infrastructure.

    I pay $25 or more per month in gas taxes, and I don't drive much. That money goes (or should go) to maintaining the roads and infrastructure required for me to drive my car. I don't pay gas taxes for my bike, but I enjoy a lot of infrastructure on my bike, from bike lanes (sorry, your bike may not wear it down much, but putting that extra asphalt there in the first place wasn't free) to paved off-road bike paths to some truly excellent MTB trails in our county parks. Maybe things are just different where I live.

    I get that there are lots of things people don't want to pay taxes for. I don't get people balking at paying taxes for things they actually use. Feel free to enlighten me why people who ride bikes should be exempt from that.
    ..
    Two questions and one comment:

    What is this "extra asphalt" you speak of?

    Where does it say that the proposed bike tax will be used to fund bike infrastructure?

    That last one would be a better question for the trucking industry, which is subsidized by taxpayers 1.2 bazillion times more than bicycles.

  16. #16
    Squeaky Wheel
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    An acquaintance emailed the head of the Transportation committee in the Washington State Legislature and received a reply that she also thought it was a dumb idea and she does not think it will be part of the final bill.

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    50% of road construction and maintenance is paid from the "general fund" - that comes from property taxes and sales taxes (in Washington State.) This means that bicyclists are already paying far more into the road system than they're getting out of it. This is a very inconvenient fact for the car-centric culture, so it is frequently ignored.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Two questions and one comment:

    What is this "extra asphalt" you speak of?

    Again, things may be different where I live, but pretty much every new road built around SoCal is a little wider with a bike lane.

    Where does it say that the proposed bike tax will be used to fund bike infrastructure?

    Doesn't say that, I guess. I made an assumption, and you know what they say about assume... But since it is a "transportation" bill, it seemed like a reasonable leap in logic.

    That last one would be a better question for the trucking industry, which is subsidized by taxpayers 1.2 bazillion times more than bicycles.
    Well, we can either subsidize trucking or pay more for everything we purchase. Yes, I'd opt for the latter just for the sake of simplifying the tax code.

    The bottom line is we use the roads whether we're on a bike or in a car. No, bikes don't cause as much wear and tear (I'm guessing weather is actually the worst offender, especially in places where it freezes often), but over its life, between registration taxes and fuel taxes, the car will cost me about $3000 in taxes alone. $25 over the life of a bicycle doesn't seem so bad.

  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    This just goes to show that there is no IQ requirement to become an elected official. Cyclists give off more CO2? You cannot make this stuff up...

    State lawmaker defends bike tax, says bicycling is not good for the environment | Seattle Bike Blog

  21. #21
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    Vermont: It costs about $20 to issue a check so I don't think that will cover the cost of the program.

    Any thief who can cut a cable can remove the plate/sticker. So much for aiding IDing stolen bikes. Further, since plates don't seem to make cagers better drivers, what is this drivel about the cyclist obeying traffic laws better with this program.

    How about overweight cagers paying their fair share of their health issues as it impacts health costs?

    What a load of crap.

    The Washington politician is taxing breathing? What about marathoners, anyone getting aerobic at work? Not doing any analysis is the same as don't confuse me with the facts I want to tax these guys. As if we aren't taxpayers anyway.

    I hope someone smarter gets to skewer him if he presents this in the state legislature.


    BrianMc

  22. #22
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    I, for one, expect to see new carbon taxes levied at Fitness centers, gyms, stores selling running shoes, etc. in 3... 2... 1...

  23. #23
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    Pretty nuts. If the goal is really to raise money for roads, then they should tax by who uses the roads and has most impact- so that would be by weight and miles. Gas taxes were a not unreasonable approximation of this. But now many states, CA most recently are looking at alternatives to gas taxes to ensure they get their fare share from electrics and hybrids. But as someone pointed out earlier, its just nuts when the same governments subsidized these same cars, bikes etc.

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