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Old 10-27-08, 01:45 PM   #1
DaveZ
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Bicycle "Tax"

Last Saturday, the Sacramento Bee published a letter from a person suggesting that riders pay a tax for the privilege of using the road. As near as I could tell, she was serious. It's a long letter but here is a link http://www.sacbee.com/326/story/1341899.html.
I think what was going on is she has a chip on her shoulder against bicyclists. For this reason, I think it is important to always be polite, etc to motorists. We should try to be ambassadors, as it were, for cycling. I think the more people that ride, the better it is in the long run, and antagonizing drivers doesn't help anything.

Of coure, there ARE exceptions....
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Old 10-27-08, 01:47 PM   #2
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taxes: #1 strawman thrown up by motorists who don't like sharing the road. It's a pretty ignorant argument, and has been rebutted many many times in the past in several different mediums. It's not really even worth arguing over anymore.
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Old 10-27-08, 01:53 PM   #3
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It's patriotic to pay taxes.
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Old 10-27-08, 01:57 PM   #4
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Here's a slightly different take. Bicycle tax is mentioned as only one of several possible fees.
This appeared in the 10/27/08 issue Eugene Oregon Register-Guard. (I had to cut and past, there was no direct link.) Our roads, btw, are in really rough shape.

Tax all users of the roadways


I read in The Register-Guard recently that there is a measure to fund street repair with property taxes — $35.9 million over five years.
Are only property owners allowed to vote on this issue? It doesn’t seem quite fair to allow someone who won’t have to be ponying up to say someone else must pay.
Why not allay these costs with, say, bicycle and car taxes? What about the trucks that are responsible for a great deal of the damage?
How about the visitors to Eugene? Shouldn’t they bear some of the cost?
Property taxes are high enough! I think Eugene ought to ease off a bit on penalizing folks who’ve chosen to buy their homes there.
Tax all the users of the roads, not just the home owners.
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Old 10-27-08, 02:05 PM   #5
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Tax should be based on gross vehicle weight
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Old 10-27-08, 02:06 PM   #6
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Awesome avatar, ritepath.

Kind of interesting how the same folks that insist the road is for them as well, think it's crazy to ask them to help pay for it.

I might be willing to pay a small registration fee IF there was some assurance that it would go to making the roads safer for us. Little things like wider shoulders. I wouldn't expect every road to be that way, but, an intelligent network of roads designated as bike friendly would be nice. About 8 of my 12 mile commute is on ellington rd. It is the best way to get from ellington to south windsor where I work. It would be a logical pic for such a network. But, about 5 miles of it are extremely bike unfriendly. Horrible sightlines with a narrow crappy shoulder. It is why my ride home is 3 miles longer because I refuse to ride it in heavy traffic.

Ofcourse, I would also expect tax breaks such as the BS ones that are given to prius pilots.
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Old 10-27-08, 02:14 PM   #7
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@ Mr Phil - While homeowners may directly pay property taxes, everyone pays these taxes indirectly so everyone who lives and works in the jurisdiction is a taxpayer. (For example, if someone rents their house or apartment to someone, they will look to recoup the cost of the taxes to some extent in the rental price they ask.)
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Old 10-27-08, 02:16 PM   #8
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It's patriotic to pay taxes.
You neglected to add any indication of sarcasm, so one must assume that you are being sincere.

What is your opinion of Henry Paulson, when moving as CEO of Goldman Sachs to Treasury Secretary, he sold $500 million of stock tax-free, because of a loop hole that is supposedly intended to allow people to move from private enterprise to government employment without being penalized - the sale of the stock is intended to remove potential for a conflict of interest. Funnily enough, most others achieve this buy putting their assets into a blind-trust. Funnily enough, the conflict of interest is still present because Paulson has a $1 million a year pension at Goldman Sachs one of the primary beneficiaries of the $700 billion bailout.

The good news, is that neither Obama nor McCain will radically change the status-quo and pretty soon there is going to be the mother of all collapses, 1929 through 1939 will look like a picnic.
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Old 10-27-08, 02:21 PM   #9
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What is your opinion of Henry Paulson, when moving as CEO of Goldman Sachs to Treasury Secretary, he sold $500 million of stock tax-free, because of a loop hole that is supposedly intended to allow people to move from private enterprise to government employment without being penalized - the sale of the stock is intended to remove potential for a conflict of interest.

Sounds like a smart man...I suppose that loophole won't get closed up anytime soon. Now to figure out how to come up with 500m in stock.
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Old 10-27-08, 02:25 PM   #10
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gmacdermid - I don't disagree with you. I've already cast my vote in favor of the levy. I do think the letter writer (NOT ME) raises interesting issues. And, it's one thing to know you're paying property taxes with your rent. It's quite another thing to get the bill in the mail. I just got mine; $3400.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:01 PM   #11
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gmacdermid - I don't disagree with you. I've already cast my vote in favor of the levy. I do think the letter writer (NOT ME) raises interesting issues. And, it's one thing to know you're paying property taxes with your rent. It's quite another thing to get the bill in the mail. I just got mine; $3400.
Bet you wish you had a sales tax.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:07 PM   #12
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In general, the larger the road, the larger the percentage of funding from the Feds. For smaller county roads and city streets, save for designated state and federal highways, the funding comes from local taxes. Now who is to say that some towns and cities don't have a special gas tax which goes directly to funding roads.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:08 PM   #13
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Saving Hawaii - I really like not having a sales tax. The property tax rate is not as high as the upper Midwest, where I grew up. We do have a pretty steep income tax. I think Oregon is on the low end of taxation. Our roads and schools reflect that.

I also like that someone else pumps my gas. No self serve here. Originally for safety, now it cuts down on spillage.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:10 PM   #14
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gmacdermid - I don't disagree with you. I've already cast my vote in favor of the levy. I do think the letter writer (NOT ME) raises interesting issues. And, it's one thing to know you're paying property taxes with your rent. It's quite another thing to get the bill in the mail. I just got mine; $3400.
3400, huh?

Wanna trade? That's low here in the people's republic of Ct. And we have a 6.5% sales tax and an income tax.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:13 PM   #15
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I also like that someone else pumps my gas. No self serve here. Originally for safety, now it cuts down on spillage.
Couldn't ossibly have anything to do with service station owners lobby. Nope. No way.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:14 PM   #16
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Actually pete, the station owners hate it and try to get it repealed every few years. No one will sign their initiative petitions.

The attendants usually have treats for your dog, too.
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Old 10-27-08, 03:38 PM   #17
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I've paid tax on every bike I've ever owned. Sales tax. Rate is the same for cars and bikes here.

If you look into the issue, you'll find that most roads that cyclists use -- i.e., non-expressways -- are primarily paid for by local taxes: sales tax, income tax, and property tax. Gas taxes go overwhelmingly to roads that cyclists are excluded from.

I've come to the conclusion that the key to getting a road built is to conceal how it's paid for from the people paying for it.
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Old 10-27-08, 05:09 PM   #18
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Let's have a little fun and pick this argument apart.

Quote:
We must all agree that California is in an economic quandary of mammoth proportions, yet there is one resource that remains untapped.
The Governator's bank account?

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For so long, California bicyclists have enjoyed the economic freedoms associated with their transportation of choice.
Uhmm, why limit it to just California bicyclists? What's next? Taxing people who live "off the grid" for not using electricity? That makes a lot of (non)sense.

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They have advocated "sharing the roadway,"
Because it's the law.

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and they easily glide past gas stations
Which goes hand in glove with riding a bicycle in the first place.

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with smug shortsightedness.
Many bicyclists choose to ride because they enjoy it; cost benefit is a happy bonus (although what money is saved in gas more often goes to more bike goodies).

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Because these individuals are so adroitly committed to sharing the roadway, I would like to truly integrate them into actually sharing these highways and byways.
Thanks, but we already have that covered.


Quote:
I believe that people who choose to share the roadway, as it were, should meet the following requirements.

They must be licensed as we all are;
Problems, let's count, shall we. 1) Enforcement; 2) Bureaucracy (you just said "that California is in an economic quandary of mammoth proportions", and you think adding another agency is going to lessen the economic problem?); 3) Criteria (are you going to require little Suzy to pass a test before her training wheels come off? How about drivers of oversized SUVs that don't know how to use a turn signal?) 4) oh, forget it, let's just move on.

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their vehicles (yes, bicycles are considered vehicles,
No kidding, Einstein.

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yet I consider them toys on steroids)
At least you're making your bias known. And I consider SUVs to be nothing more than station wagons on steroids, so there.

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should be formally registered; and special handbooks should be issued by the DMV (under a sister agency, the Department of Bipedular Vehicles) to instruct proper and legal operation of such contraptions.
Again, how is adding another level of bureaucracy going to help things?

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Bicyclists do not pay fuel taxes, or vehicle registration fees, or licensing fees, yet they claim co-ownership of our roadways.
Because it is stated in the state law. Look it up. I'm a librarian and I can help you understand the big words.

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Helmets and knee padding scarcely pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the roadways that bicyclists advocate sharing.
Neither does chrome hub caps, in-car navigation systems, and 18" wheels, yet car owners buy those.

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Let these cyclists pay their fair share, too, if they wish to continue sharing our roadways.
We do; it's called "Sales Tax". Oh, and since many adult bicycle riders also own homes, they also pay property taxes, sewer and water taxes, phone taxes, income taxes, estate taxes, etc. Don't say we don't pay our fair share of taxes. Oh, and believe it or not, many bicyclists also own cars and, yes, pay fuel taxes. Chew on that.

Last edited by harleyfrog; 10-27-08 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:06 PM   #19
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Did anyone notice the barely concealed envy in the writers words,("gliding past gas stations")?
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Old 10-27-08, 06:33 PM   #20
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Did anyone notice the barely concealed envy in the writers words,("gliding past gas stations")?
Haha, that's great. Classic wolf in a manger syndrome.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:37 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by MrPhil View Post
gmacdermid - I don't disagree with you. I've already cast my vote in favor of the levy. I do think the letter writer (NOT ME) raises interesting issues. And, it's one thing to know you're paying property taxes with your rent. It's quite another thing to get the bill in the mail. I just got mine; $3400.
I get the rent increase in the mail after the owner of the house gets his tax increase in the mail.
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Old 10-27-08, 07:07 PM   #22
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I get the rent increase in the mail after the owner of the house gets his tax increase in the mail.
Around here they just evict you, eat your deposit, and find some new victim. There are a few good landlords.
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Old 10-27-08, 07:09 PM   #23
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Tax should be based on gross vehicle weight
if thats the case youll be spending 2000% in consumable goods
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Old 10-27-08, 07:38 PM   #24
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Tax should be based on gross vehicle weight
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if thats the case you'll be spending 2000% [more on] in consumable goods
Or, people will cut back 90% on discretionary expenditure on goods made overseas and your career opportunities will diminish equally.

What if vehicle tax was based on gross vehicle weight with exceptions for commercial and agricultural, and payment was made as part of the fuel purchased at the gasoline / diesel pump?
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Old 10-27-08, 07:41 PM   #25
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It's patriotic to pay taxes.
Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel.

-Samuel Johnson, April 7, 1775.
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