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Old 02-12-03, 04:42 PM   #1
Oxymoron
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Bicycle Excise Tax?

I work in environmental conservation where sources of funding to further our interests are badly needed. I was recently doing research on excise taxes.

The one most are familiar with is the 11% tax hunters and anglers have paid since 1938 on fishing poles, guns, ammo., etc. 100% of this money goes directly towards protecting and enhancing game animals and their habitats.

Alternately there is no such tax on hiking, camping or birding equipment. As a result nongame animal programs receive almost no funding. These animals are often endangered or have habitat degradation (remember the bald eagle?). If we paid a tax on non-consumptive outdoors equipment there would be a lot more wildlife to view and more places to view it.

Maybe if we as cyclists were willing to pay a tax on our equipment we could fund our advocacy and needs more adequately. With 100% of funds going to our cause we could only benefit from this. As we all know money is everything these days. Just something to think about.

By the way, people fought enthusiastically against any "new tax" on outdoors gear. They won, and now the nongame program in my state only gets half the money it needs to even run.

Clay :confused:
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Old 02-12-03, 05:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by Oxymoron
Maybe if we as cyclists were willing to pay a tax on our equipment we could fund our advocacy and needs more adequately. With 100% of funds going to our cause we could only benefit from this. As we all know money is everything these days. Just something to think about.
It's a nice idea in theory, however the facts are somewhat different. Here in Australia we've paid taxes on buying our equipment for years (first the old Sales Tax, then the GST) the same as everyone else does (we also pay income taxes as well, but they aren't terribly relevant to this argument). The fact is, like all the other taxes we pay on various products, it goes into General Revenue, which the government spends how they see fit (vote buying mainly in the last few years).

The truth is, the whole bleating from motoring groups about "cyclists not paying their way" is just a load of codswallop! Sales taxes are virtually consumption taxes. The amount we pay is directly proportional to the amount we consume. The only things a cyclist needs are their bike and to replace parts that wear out. Hence that's all they consume for their basic needs.

A motorist consumes not only replacement parts (which are usually more expensive than bike parts anyway), but also fuel. Hence they consume a lot more and have to pay a lot more under such a system. However, it's their choice. People bleat about needing to drive or whatever else, but it's a choice they make in order to support their lifestyle. I'm not saying they shouldn't be free to make that choice, I'm just saying they shouldn't complain when it costs them more.

If I choose to stay in expensive motels rather than camp on my Tasmanian tour later this year, it will cost me more money also (and more GST). Fact is, it's a choice I have to make, and whatever consequences arise from it are noboby's fault but my own.
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Old 02-12-03, 06:06 PM   #3
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If we paid a tax on non-consumptive outdoors equipment there would be a lot more wildlife to view and more places to view it.


Since taxes are used for social engineering we could tax just the bikes in the big box stores (walmart...) to give people incentive to buy from an LBS. Then again if the taxes are too high it will start to keep people off of bikes.
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Old 02-12-03, 06:56 PM   #4
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There is no reason to tax all people who buy bikes to further the cause of bike advocacy programs. The majority of people who buy bikes I am sure don't really care about where bike lanes are. There is no need to impose this on them. Rather they just want something they can ride in their local area on the same 1-mile path as they have been for years.

I glady give money to help my local groups and their push for more bike-friendly streets. This way I know most of the money will go to that cause, and not be repurposed for other things in the state's agenda. But don't tax me on it. It would be just one more beaurocracy we need to hire over-paid people to administer.

Let the people who have intrest in a subject further it. Don't force everyone else to partake in it too.

Just because you buy a snorkel and fins for your pool doesn't mean that 11% of your money should go to ocean preservation. You may live 1000 miles inland. Sure you may want your money to go to that, and that's fine. Just cut a check and mail it.
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Old 02-12-03, 10:38 PM   #5
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There is no need to tax bicycles - most of the improvements for bicycles, such as wider lanes and shoulders, are more of benefit to motor traffic than bikes, as they reduce congestion.
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Old 02-12-03, 10:46 PM   #6
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... I glady give money to help my local groups and their push for more bike-friendly streets. ... It would be just one more beaurocracy we need to hire over-paid people to administer.
As a paying member/supporter of the California and San Diego Bicycle Coalitions and the League of American Bicyclists, I concur emphatically.
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Old 02-13-03, 11:58 AM   #7
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Taxing cyclists is not the answer. I agree with the above posting: the best way to improve your city, town, whatever, cycling-wise is to push it thru using local bike clubs. I also agree with the other poster about taxing bikes would more likely do harm than good, i.e. discourage people from biking.
As far as taxing hiking for wildlife issues, there are doing that here in Washington State, as like many other states. I dont mind paying the tax... but in all honesty I and many other people like me are getting taxed to death. Its not so bad when they use taxes like they are supposed to be but when they spend the taxes friviously and ask for more, well you see where Im going with this....
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Old 02-25-03, 01:42 PM   #8
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1. >>The fact is, like all the other taxes we pay on various products, it goes into General Revenue<<<


Bingo..

We have a state lottery in New Jersey/New York and the money was supposed to fund our education system. Guess what? It doesn't happen as ALL lottery profits are poured into the General Fund and disbursed EVERYWHERE. As a result, we have one of the worse school systems in the nation and are in the process of laying off hundreds of school teachers due to budget shortfalls.

Taxes solve problems like guns bring peace.
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Old 02-25-03, 02:14 PM   #9
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I'd like to see it go the other way, not having to pay PST and GST on bikes or other fitness related equipment, as a means of helping people get motivated to work out, stay healthy, and encourage bike commuting. This would help our healthcare system as well as the environment, while enriching peoples' lives. I believe they already do this in other jurisdictions, such as Alberta.
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Old 02-25-03, 10:13 PM   #10
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Originally posted by aerobat
I'd like to see it go the other way, not having to pay PST and GST on bikes or other fitness related equipment, as a means of helping people get motivated to work out, stay healthy, and encourage bike commuting. This would help our healthcare system as well as the environment, while enriching peoples' lives. I believe they already do this in other jurisdictions, such as Alberta.

Not quite. Alberta doesn't have a provincial sales tax, period. So bikes are charged the Federal tax (GST) but not the Provincial tax, just like anything else over there.

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Old 02-25-03, 11:33 PM   #11
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Even if they "promise" to apply it cycling AND keep that promise, they would just eliminate any other funding source. Worse yet, those who might be inclined to lend support to cycling would assume that taxes took care of everything and put their money elsewhere.
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Old 02-26-03, 02:14 AM   #12
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The problem is not about more taxes, the problem is the government is not using the taxes wisely. Here in California when Governor Pete Wilson (republican) was in office he had to financially deal with the Northridge Earthquake, he shrank class size down, dropped state taxes and lowered motor vehicle fees dramatically, and when he left office he left 380 billion dollars in surplus fund. WOW! This man did a great job. Along comes Governor Gray Davis (democrat); he had no natural disaster to use up excess money yet he has managed to spend the entire 380 billion PLUS put the state into a 300 billion dollar debt that is growing. He has also robbed from school bonds that were to be used for reducing class size specifically so now we are laying off thousands of teachers and increasing class size; he has raised our taxes and electric and natural gas cost, he has raised our gasoline taxes and dramatically increased our motor vehicle fees again.

So placing a tax on bicycles is not a good idea because the taxes will at some time be used for something else unrelated to bicycling because "they need it". We don't need more taxes, we need more accountability in public office, we need watch dog groups to stop idiots like Davis from being given that kind of authority to screw up an economy; or set up a system to have a sitting governor or president to be recalled if his economics is leading to a disaster. This could be led by the State Supreme court system perhaps? Not really sure how this could be done, but something needs to be done. We need to vote with intellegence instead of emotion, but because that doesn't seem to be working we need something to protect us from our own stupidity.
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Old 02-26-03, 02:45 AM   #13
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So placing a tax on bicycles is not a good idea because the taxes will at some time be used for something else unrelated to bicycling because "they need it".
As I said before, it would simply go into General Revenue, the same as the other taxes we pay. It would do us no good at all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these "abolish all taxes" types, I realise they serve a purpose. I just don't think this particular one would work they way it's intended in the real world.
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Old 03-01-03, 04:16 AM   #14
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Well, where I'm from, there already is a county tax on new complete bikes. We are forced to pay a licensing fee whether it be a road bike or mtb. Bikes bought from out of state are required to have this registration sticker on their bikes or be subject to fines on operation in any public area. The reasoning at the time of creation was to use the money to build new bike routes, both on and off road.

The money unfotunately goes into the general fund, so there is no real fair cut made. In fact, this program has been going on since the late 70s here, and the last county bike route to be built was 15 years ago! Just goes to show that taxing people to create a "fund" of some sort is just a pipe dream in the real world.
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Old 03-01-03, 04:20 AM   #15
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Vegetation, you might think about including your location in your profile. Maybe then we can understand a little bit more about "where I'm from" that has this tax. Tell me, does the licencing fee apply to children riding to school as well?
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