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Old 07-21-17, 09:00 AM   #1
Rider51
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Oregon to Tax Cyclists?

I hope this doesn't just turn into a political diatribe that mods (rightfully) lock, but I found it interesting, distressing, that one of the most cycling friendly states would be the first state in our nation's history to tax cyclists, but without the guarantee that the revenue would actually go to improve paths, roads, bike lanes, or anything else related to bike safety, or anything bicycling friendly.

BikePortland publisher Jonathan Maus called it, “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction.”


“We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species.”





First statewide bicycle tax in nation leaves bike-crazy Oregon riders deflated - Washington Times
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Old 07-21-17, 09:07 AM   #2
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Holy smokes. They would be insane to do something like that.
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Old 07-23-17, 08:03 AM   #3
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So reading the article most tax paying people say "bikers don't have any skin in the game". How could bikers show yes they do and this is what they are doing? ( as soon as someone brings in political drama you know they lost the discussion )
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Old 07-23-17, 10:04 AM   #4
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If they get by with it and do it, other states will follow.
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Old 07-23-17, 10:43 AM   #5
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It seems Oregon has no sales tax. I pay 6% sales tax on any bicycle related purchase.
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Old 07-23-17, 12:11 PM   #6
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It won't raise significant revenue, so I think it's more an anti cyclist statement. Probably the spandex clad roadies they're really aiming at. I doubt it will catch on though.
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Old 07-23-17, 01:36 PM   #7
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It won't raise significant revenue, so I think it's more an anti cyclist statement. Probably the spandex clad roadies they're really aiming at. I doubt it will catch on though.
Since it is a regressive tax, the spandex clad roadies pay a 0.1% tax on their $15,000 bicycles. Probably less than a new water bottle cage.

Those that buy a $201 Walmart bike are the ones that get hit by a 7.5% tax.

So far, the law has been passed by both houses, but hasn't been signed by the governor. It is a huge comprehensive transportation overhaul, that bicycles are only a small part of. But, it has some very odd things such as taxing fuel efficient cars more than gas guzzlers.

I am somewhat mixed on the tax. While I do like the idea of new infrastructure, I also believe that the state should be investing in health and wellness of the people. And taxing them is the wrong approach. Furthermore, we need continuing maintenance on the existing infrastructure which this doesn't address.

For those states that have sales taxes... this may not seem like a lot, but Oregon residents make up for no sales taxes with higher income and property taxes. There is no free ride. This new sales tax doesn't offset any previous taxes.

As in most states, the Governor has line item veto power, and I'm still hoping she exercises the power. Or, perhaps vetoes the whole package, and sends it back to be reworked with conservation and public health in mind.
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Old 07-23-17, 02:07 PM   #8
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This topic has been posted at least twice in the past. One other thing that was noted is that they have lots of definitions, but never quite define what a "wheel" is.

Quote:
(5) “Taxable bicycle” means a new bicycle that has wheels of at least 26 inches in diameter and a retail sales price of $200 or more.
It is been pointed out that when buying a retail wheel, it almost always is sold without a tire.

But, in colloquial terms, the term "wheel" often includes the tire.

And, whether or not a wheel includes a tire is critical for the applicability of the law. Apparently the law was written by non cyclists.

It also doesn't apply to our locally made Bike Friday bicycles, but will apply to many other local small builders. However, bikes with mixed wheel sizes may also be skipped.

Bikes with some tubular tires may well not be affected by simply selling the bike without air. And, there are different sizes of 26" tires. So, many, if not most 26" tires aren't actually 26" in diameter.
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Old 07-23-17, 07:24 PM   #9
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Double taxation for owners of both cars and bikes-- more yet for a plane and boat registration fees. There are taxes on mobile phone bills, hotel rooms, and a recreational marijuana tax...?

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Old 07-23-17, 08:10 PM   #10
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Well... taxes everywhere.

I suppose not much more of a "double tax" than hitting people with double or triple registration fees and insurance for those that have multiple cars. Apparently Washington allows a single insurance policy for whatever one drives, but in Oregon, each vehicle gets insured independently, despite the difficulties of driving two at once.

Quite a few of what one might call "sin taxes".

Gasoline, Alcoholic Beverages, Cigarettes, etc. I suppose Marijuana would fall into that group too.

So, I suppose bicycles fall into the SIN tax category
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Old 07-24-17, 10:26 AM   #11
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Interesting posts. I was most struck by how regressive the tax is, and how vaguely it could be defined, thus hardly written by those with much cycling knowledge.

I mentioned before that the money wouldn't be earmarked for actual bike related items (bike safety, lanes, paths, etc). Here's the primary concern, the state employees pension program (PERS) is slowly devouring much of the state budget, including almost every last thing that isn't earmarked. A bleak situation no matter how you look at it from any angle.

Oregon swallowed by PERS costs | Commentary | Eugene, Oregon
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Old 07-24-17, 12:58 PM   #12
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Interesting posts. I was most struck by how regressive the tax is, and how vaguely it could be defined, thus hardly written by those with much cycling knowledge.

I mentioned before that the money wouldn't be earmarked for actual bike related items (bike safety, lanes, paths, etc). Here's the primary concern, the state employees pension program (PERS) is slowly devouring much of the state budget, including almost every last thing that isn't earmarked. A bleak situation no matter how you look at it from any angle.

Oregon swallowed by PERS costs | Commentary | Eugene, Oregon
PERS is unique. Apparently at one point, the State of Oregon made a deal with the public employees to take over 100% of the PERS contributions in exchange for not taking pay raises.

The system was supposed to be investment supported, but apparently growth calculations didn't match reality, especially with some big economic bubbles.

Later, the voters have been trying to cut the promised benefits, but it is hard for the state to renege on it's promises.

Perhaps part of the problem was that at least part of the payouts were variable based on rather good investment returns, then the state allowed those to be converted to fixed return plans for the rest of retiree's lives.

Anyway, a bicycle tax shouldn't be added to cover retirement obligations the State has made to its employees.
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Old 07-24-17, 02:35 PM   #13
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Well, PERS alone is $22 billion in debt, with that number set to increase. And this is with optimistic investment numbers. One thing I read said the unfunded amount is more like $50b. Just to give you a number, the state is $1.6b in debt for this year's budget alone. So, they're going to have to figure something out, or they are going to end up like Detroit, or Puerto Rico.

Now I'm the one really side tracking, sorry.

Time to go for a ride.
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Old 07-27-17, 01:10 PM   #14
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It seems Oregon has no sales tax. I pay 6% sales tax on any bicycle related purchase.
But we have a 9% income tax for most income levels, which taxes every dollar earned, as opposed to taxing just discretionary expenditures.

We also have an 'invasive species' permit that boaters required to purchase, which also extends to the equally enviro-friendly activity of kayaking. There are no inspectors or inspections ensuring that my kayak is not actually carrying invasive species (although I do not believe a zebra mussel can be transported between different bodies of water by becoming trapped in the cooling system of my kayak's engine anyway), but I'm sure my fee is being used to make our waterways more safe from these harmful species...somehow .

The typical problem with these earmarked taxes is that, for whatever revenue is generated by them, an equal amount of general fund money is now suddenly 'freed-up' and siphoned off for some other (usually dumb) project, with the net result being that the earmarked activity sees no net increase in funding.

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Old 07-29-17, 09:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
This topic has been posted at least twice in the past. One other thing that was noted is that they have lots of definitions, but never quite define what a "wheel" is.



It is been pointed out that when buying a retail wheel, it almost always is sold without a tire.

But, in colloquial terms, the term "wheel" often includes the tire.

And, whether or not a wheel includes a tire is critical for the applicability of the law. Apparently the law was written by non cyclists.

It also doesn't apply to our locally made Bike Friday bicycles, but will apply to many other local small builders. However, bikes with mixed wheel sizes may also be skipped.

Bikes with some tubular tires may well not be affected by simply selling the bike without air. And, there are different sizes of 26" tires. So, many, if not most 26" tires aren't actually 26" in diameter.
Just tell 'em it's 650B, and they'll get confused.
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Old 07-29-17, 10:49 PM   #16
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"For now, here are the final details of the bike tax:

It’s a $15 flat tax instead of the 4-5% tax initially proposed.
Applies to new bicycles with a wheel diameter of 26-inches or larger and a retail price of $200 or more.
Expected to raise $1.2 million per year and cost $100,000 per year to administer.


Funds will go into the Connect Oregon program and be set aside specifically, “for the purposes of grants for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects… that expand and improve commuter routes for nonmotorized vehicles and pedestrians, including bicycle trails, footpaths and multiuse trails.”

https://bikeportland.org/2017/07/06/...ike-tax-233967
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Old 07-31-17, 07:45 PM   #17
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Setting aside how easily defeated this silly tax is (sell a bike without a seat, pedals or wheels and it isn't a complete bicycle and is thus exempt; issue of what a 26 inch wheel is (no rim in common use is 26 inches or greater in diameter); probably other ways as well) and the fact that the price that the tax kicks in is designed to exempt Wally-world bike shaped objects, this tax is beyond silly.

It funds off-street projects, not bike lanes. Since ODOT redefigned bike paths as off-street sidewalks, we've got cyclists paying for pedestrian facilities. Okay, by that logic we should have a car sales tax that pays for cycling facilities.
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Old 08-04-17, 10:58 AM   #18
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Bring a bike back from Europe and the VAT is refunded, when you mail back the form with a Customs Exit Stamp on it.

So getting a bike in California or Washington or any other state but NH, you pay sales tax , a % not a flat fee.

but your Brompton purchase or $2000 Bike Friday Order will not be taxed, because of its 20 or 16" wheel?





....

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Old 08-04-17, 11:10 AM   #19
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So getting a bike in California or Washington or any other state but NH, you pay sales tax , a % not a flat fee.







....
Actually, in WA you fill out a 5 minute form with the retailer and the sales tax is not charged. I just did this in Wenatchee two weeks ago on my new gravel bike. I'm not sure how this might work on the California side of the border.

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Old 08-05-17, 01:03 PM   #20
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Actually, in WA you fill out a 5 minute form with the retailer and the sales tax is not charged. I just did this in Wenatchee two weeks ago on my new gravel bike. I'm not sure how this might work on the California side of the border.

Keith
They made you fill out the form? My last bike purchase was a custom Rodriguez tandem in Seattle (love that shop) and they filled out the form for me. It could be that they had seen my penmanship and decided it would be better to have the form done legibly.

I actually felt a bit guilty about not paying the sales tax until we rode it home along the STP route the day before the event and were faced with numerous anti-cycling signs (some placed by the jurisdictions along the route). That made me feel much better about not paying the sales tax.
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Old 08-13-17, 08:41 AM   #21
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Well see about that cross border tax waver, Salem may sort out away with Olympia to do transfer charges..
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Old 08-16-17, 02:13 PM   #22
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I wouldn't trust the government to spend that $1.2 million on improvements to biking infrastructure. What they will spend it on is a whole lot of consulting, studies, focus groups, and other things that help office workers, but don't do much for bikes.

As an example, my house overlooks a public trail. It's wide, well maintained, and used by all sorts of people for all kinds of things, including bikes, joggers, and walkers. I can ride it north effectively into Seattle. Going south, though, I get about 3 miles before it ends. The county's plan is to complete the south end of the trail so it grants access to the Green River (Flaming Geyser Park, for the locals). This plan has been in place since.... 1992. Now they are beginning to act on it. And for their first steps, they're gonna pave the north segment, or as I like to say, they're gonna "fix it until it's broken." The south segment (which would be the far more beneficial) connection, well... that is gonna require some more study.

In a fraction of the same time, the local bike club took some land in Black Diamond and turned it into an absolute paradise of singletrack trails, at a fraction of the cost.

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Old 08-16-17, 02:59 PM   #23
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The bill is still stuck on the Governor's desk awaiting signature, and time is running out. As far as I can tell, the Governor has until August 18 to sign the bill.

Then, I think it may go for referendum, or perhaps be able to be overturned by initiative during the next election cycle.

As far as spending the money. I would imagine there are plenty of projects to spend the money on. There is a new Rails to Trails project up northwest somewhere.

Salmonberry Trail
http://www.wweek.com/outdoors/2016/0...pic-bike-path/

Portland has put in some big path improvements over the last decade including extending some nice paths across the Willamette River in a few places, as well as adding critical (and expensive) access points to the Springwater trail. I have no doubt that one could justify billing bicycling for several millions of dollars.

Springfield has recently added a few more miles of "bike paths"... well, MUP paths, and likely has more in planning. They're spending over $6 Million to make a mess out of the roads in Glenwood. I've suggested some bike friendly improvements... we'll see.
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Old 08-16-17, 03:07 PM   #24
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I think the numbers you're mentioning kind of highlight my point. The new tax is supposed to generate $1.2 million in new revenue. In the scope of civil engineering projects, that is lunch money for the consultants.

All this kind of tax really does is put pressure on new bike sales and encourage used bike sales. If I buy a bike from you, are you gonna send $15 to the state? If they really wanted to get bikers with "skin in the game" (which I'm OK with) they should do something like annual vehicle licensing, where everyone who rides pays into it, not just people that were dumb enough to buy a new bike in Oregon.
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Old 08-16-17, 04:03 PM   #25
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If they really wanted to get bikers with "skin in the game" (which I'm OK with) they should do something like annual vehicle licensing, where everyone who rides pays into it, not just people that were dumb enough to buy a new bike in Oregon.
A "license tax" may well have the effect of discouraging people from occasionally partaking in an activity. I've let my fishing license expire because I wasn't fishing enough, but now I also don't fish because I've let the license expire.

They could certainly tax tires including those installed on new bikes.

It is hard to say how many tires get sold. Those bikes hanging in a garage may still have 30+ year old tires on them. Most Department Store bikes may on average get their original tires + one new set of tires before the whole bike is thrown away.

Those "roadies" may well burn through a few sets of tires.

The biggest issue with things like tries is that mail order companies may account for as many as half of the tires being purchased, and they are hard to deal with.

To capture about the same income, one might have to tax tires on the order of $5 per tire (if one counts low-end department store bikes).

Fortunately one of Oregon's largest bike builders (of small bikes) doesn't count.
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