Tax on Bikes? Boo!
July 20th, 2009 by Matt · 9 Comments
Some things just make absolutely no sense to me. Like when I see dudes
peeing at urinals looking down at their manhood. What? Did you forget
what it looks like? Have you not performed the same action thousands
of times in your life? What need is there to look down that way? Bowls
I can understand, there’s a degree of difficulty involved, but a
urinal? Oh wait, that’s a topic for a different blog . . . back to
Oh sure, many will disagree with me on this other issue, but a
possible move in Vancouver, Washington to place a tax on bicycles just
seems plain stupid. Sure I am saying this because I ride my bike
everyday (and I happen to look like a long haired hippie at present),
but there are several other reasons. And unbelievably, I started to
write about this only later to find out that Andrew had beat me to it.
But I’m not going to let that stop my keyboard mojo.
My encounter with this story came from Portland, Oregon based KGW.com
that quotes Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart. I don’t think
Clark County is big enough or cool enough to have it’s own news
outlets so we have to rely upon Portland to cover this terrible idea.
All Portlanders know the following, but for the benefit of those not
in the know, comparing Vancouver’s Clark County to Portland’s
Multnomah County is like trying to compare a Huffy to a Surly. The
likely owner of a dust covered Huffy, Mr. Stuart asks:
“We license our dogs. You license your car. Why wouldn’t you license
Oh let me count the ways you Huffy Politician!
First of all, the negative impact cars have on both the environment
and roadways cannot be argued against by any person who claims to be
sane. You tax cars primarily because they tear up the roads. Only in
recent years has the whole issue of the environment taken center stage
but taxing people on how much they pollute sounds like a grand idea to
me. When monkeys start to fly out of my ass and thousands upon
thousands of people are commuting by bicycle causing mile long traffic
jams on our thoroughfares then and only then might there be noticeable
road wear and tear. Bicycles do not have the impact on roads that cars
do and other than body odor are zero emission vehicles. Thus a tax
break is in order for bikes, not tax creation.
Next, safety. Over 40,000 people are killed each year in motor vehicle
related accidents each year in the U.S. Thousands of others suffer
injuries that will cripple them in some capacity for the rest of their
lives. Quite simply, motor vehicles are weapons. Who reports to the
scenes of these accidents? Public servants pulling a paycheck from our
taxes. More bikes, less cops! =) Okay, so that’s a stretch, but less
time patrolling our roads and more time tending to other matters would
be a better use of our tax dollars. I’d rather have Johnny Law focus
more on shutting down crank labs and throwing child molesters behind
bars than pointing a speed gun at freeways.
As far as dogs, yes of course they need licensing. Dogs can get lost
and their silly, doting, goofy talking owners (”Oh you’re such a good
boy aren’t you? Yes you are!!!!) will go to great lengths to get their
public nuisance back. Sure you can lose your bike or have it stolen,
but bikes don’t defecate, require feeding, bark incessantly, and
likely will not chew up your clothing if you know how to ride one. I’m
sure dog theft statistics are less than bike theft statistics for just
these very reasons. If my bike gets stolen I don’t believe that
registering it is going to help me get it back.
Third, and related to the second point, is insurance. Sure it’s a bit
of a reach because public dollars (at least at present) do not play
much of a role in insurance costs, but imagine the benefits of putting
people on bikes. Pushing a gas pedal in a car ain’t much of a workout.
Put someone on a bike and they are going to get a workout. A tax break
on bicycles should be a priority to help drive insurance costs down.
As a result you are likely to have healthier people that work more,
thus earning more money, thus paying more taxes. Genius!
Fourth, I am assuming registering bikes would require a trip to the
DMV. Who out there, other than someone who works at the DMV or who has
a relative that does, likes DMV employees? Providing tax breaks for
bicycles might encourage fewer people to drive which would decrease
car ownership which would directly lead to a cut in the need for DMV
employees. Badda bing!
The fifth and fourth points can be tied to the graph below supplied by
the War Resisters League that relates to income tax expenditures
(please conveniently ignore the fact that this is a Federal tax graph
and not a state tax graph):
If it is not already abundantly clear, let me explain it to you. You
probably already made the Human Resource connection. By reducing the
need for DMV employees we can cut that part down. And if you were
gifted enough to realize that you would realize that we could take a
huge cut out of the budget with a smaller military. If we did not have
to fight oil wars we would not need such a big military. The auto
industry is dependent on oil and if we get people riding bikes we
won’t be as likely to invade countries for their petroleum.
I could go on, but admittedly the beer buzz I had when I first ran
into that story on KGW.com is wearing off and I have no more cold beer
in the fridge to keep the buzz going. Thus I leave it to you readers
to provide additional support in comments . . . only after cracking
open a cold beer of course.