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Thread: Bike Tax

  1. #1
    Vandalized since 2002 vandalarchitect's Avatar
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    Bike Tax

    I came across this on the LBS's FB page. A little surprised it wasn't being discussed here, so here we go ... a draft transportation package was rolled out that included, among more taxes for gas and cars, a $25 tax on bicycles costing more that $500. The Seattle Times said this was, "a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share." I didn't realize all you needed to do to get lawmakers to listen was to whine.

    Here's an old article saying that cyclists pay more than their fair share, and here's the story from the Cascade Bicycle Club's blog.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    Does this mean you have to have a bill of sale to show the cop who pulls you over? Does it mean $25 per year, or just at the time of the sale? Guess it is time I contact my legislators.

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    just ride
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    Society sucks.
    what is this 'road tax' you speak of?

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    Senior Member PDX Reborn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clarabelle View Post
    Does this mean you have to have a bill of sale to show the cop who pulls you over? Does it mean $25 per year, or just at the time of the sale? Guess it is time I contact my legislators.
    More than likely going to be tacked on to Wa's sales on all bikes costing >$500.

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    Senior Member LDB's Avatar
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    That bike blog is obviously a liberal mouthpiece. Investment, investment, investment... the liberal code word for tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend. Nothing about spending cuts and common sense, just more taxes and more spending.
    1974 Raleigh International, 2013 Specialized Crossroads, 195x Hercules 3 spd
    My hero was the tortoise not the hare. One mailbox at a time.

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    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    Hard to argue with users paying something for improvements. I would rather see a miniscule percentage added into sales tax for all bikes and accessories, something like the portion of sales tax that goes to King County transit.

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    Vandalized since 2002 vandalarchitect's Avatar
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    It gets better. Make sure to read the first comment

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    What's likely to happen if this passes? Oregon, not very far to the south, doesn't charge sales tax at all, while ours is already close to 10 %, and legislators are talking about giving people another reason to shop out of state. Or to go to Walmart and buy a bike-shaped object for $150.

    Quote Originally Posted by vandalarchitect View Post
    The Seattle Times said this was, "a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share."
    This is a little bit like saying we should tax shoes because pedestrians don't pay their fair share, or to "legitimize" them.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  9. #9
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDX Reborn View Post
    More than likely going to be tacked on to Wa's sales on all bikes costing >$500.
    This is the idiotic part.

    With 9.5% sales tax here in Seattle a $500 bicycle would cost $572.50.

    Yes, let's provide yet another reason for people to make their bicycle purchases out of state.

    I have already written to my elected officials about this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PDX Reborn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    This is the idiotic part.

    With 9.5% sales tax here in Seattle a $500 bicycle would cost $572.50.

    Yes, let's provide yet another reason for people to make their bicycle purchases out of state.

    I have already written to my elected officials about this.
    Yeah, Seattle sucks ass, sometimes! Come on down to PDX. Better selection, better prices(NO Sales Tax!) and one of the most competitive bicycle markets in the US.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    This is the idiotic part.

    With 9.5% sales tax here in Seattle a $500 bicycle would cost $572.50.

    Yes, let's provide yet another reason for people to make their bicycle purchases out of state.

    I have already written to my elected officials about this.
    Of course, this all stems from the fact that we don't have an income tax, so that legislators are scrambling to find other ways to collect enough revenue to do things like rebuild the aging bridges we know won't stand up to the next big earthquake.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Whenever a neighboring state comes up with a really bad idea, you can count on Oregon to copy it. California started the nation down (and I do mean down) the ultra-low tax pathway with Proposition 13, and Oregon copied it with a couple of knock-offs over the next fifteen years. Now, an Oregon legislator has proposed a bike registration fee to appease the motoring public who are under the mistaken impression that we are not paying our fair share for using the roads. I guess he was watching the news and saw what is being discussed in Washington.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/cycling/in...oregon_cy.html

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    They can't figure out how to save money so they'll find other creative ways to collect it from us.. The sales tax alone can make it worth it for the drive, only disadvantage I can see if any free tune ups or bike adjustments you'll get from your LBS..

  14. #14
    John Wayne Toilet Paper nhluhr's Avatar
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    I see Rep. Orcutt has back-pedaled a bit on his carbon-tax statements regarding bicycles.

    I don't think his backpedaling is as complete or satisfying as it needs to be. In recent email clarifications, he still states "I am very willing to work with the bicycle community to determine an appropriate way to enable bicyclists to pay for some of the bicycle-only lanes and overpasses." ( http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2013/...en-mentioning/ ) which belies a misunderstanding of the economics at play here.
    First of all, statewide, gas tax accounts for only 25% of total funding toward road projects. In the city of Seattle, gas tax only accounts for 4%. The implication that since bikes aren't paying gas tax, they need to find another way to pay for infrastructure doesn't hold water in the face of other facts:

    1) Cost to maintain state roads in WA represent 19% of the operating budget and an additional 3% of capital expenditures. Road capacity improvement represents an 81% chunk of WSDOT's capital expenditure. A large portion of this is resurfacing roads damaged by carbide tire studs. Given that there is test data showing modern studless snow tires outperform studded tires on ice, I don't see any reason not to outlaw studded tires effective immediately. Added benefit, no more concrete dust slurry in the air going over the passes and whatever addition benefits that has to lungs, rivers, etc. Oh yeah, and since studless winter tires work better, there will be fewer crashes and no need to enforce studded tire restrictions outside of winter (which is good for people who continue to travel to mountainous areas where winter road conditions persist into June). Eliminating studded tires alone MIGHT pay for all the bicycle infrastructure we could ever ask for.

    2) the cost to produce bicycle infrastructure. bicycle & pedestrian expenditure accounts for ~0% of the annual operating budget and only 3% of the total capital expenditures (because we are building new infrastructure). Further, although the cost to build infrastructure for bicycles seems high when looked at in absolute terms, in relative terms, it's nothing. Using various figures for average cost of a mile of urban freeway vs a mile of low-stress bicycle infrastructure, you could build at least 400 miles of bike infrastructure to each mile of roadway. One single mile's worth of highway expenditure could satisfy all cycling needs once and for all. Once these projects are built, they are extremely inexpensive to maintain/operate whereas roads for motor vehicles are not. See below for why this is important.

    3) wear on roads. Road damage has an exponential dependency on vehicle weight. A GOA study determined that a single fully loaded 80,000gvwr semi truck represents 9,600 2ton cars' worth of wear/damage. Likewise, an average bicycle/rider combo at 200lbs is the same 1:20 weight ratio as cars:trucks. That would suggest the same exponential difference in wear. One car represents 9,600 bicycles' worth of damage. One tractor trailer does as much damage as 92 million bicycles. At that kind of wear rate, bikes could ride on a road ad infinitum until the natural environmental wear such as frost/sun/rain destroyed the road.

    4) as a cyclist commuter, I don't particularly want a lot more bike paths or bike lanes. I like sharrows above all because they represent the least risk to me in terms of tire-flattening hazards like broken glass and radial tire casing wires and I'm not particularly keen on removing automobile capacity to make room for bikes. I'd much prefer they just make existing roads smoother with some of the surplus from banning tire studs. That would have the added benefit of reduced noise pollution and reduced motor vehicle suspension/chassis/steering wear. Most of the infrastructure improvements I'd like to see are like the ones in Wallingford and Ravenna/Wedgwood lately where they have signed 'greenways' that usher cycling traffic one street over from arterials onto quiet neighborhood streets and provide improved visibility at other arterial crossings and excellent signage. This kind of expenditure is dirt cheap since the roads already exist.

    5) By replacing car commute trips with cycling commute trips, I reduce the amount of wear and tear on roads, as well as capacity needs. Since each car trip I make is worht 9600 bicycle trips in terms of damage, each car trip I DON'T make more than pays for all the cycling I could do in a year. If anything the state should be providing strong incentives to bicycle as opposed to looking for ways to tax us symbolically.

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    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    B.Carfree: that farmer in the article doesn't pay road tax on her farm equipment, either.
    Ed Miller
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    Here in Washington state electric cars sold pay no sales tax. And you also get up to $7,500 off on your Fed taxes. Then they go home and plug them into their house, or charge them up at one of the many free charging stations. So no road tax and free power to boot which we all pay for in higher our electric power bills.


    I buy a bicycle, I have to pay 8.4% to almost 10% if it's in King county sales tax on it. The state now wants that plus $25.00 more if the bicycle sale price is over $500. PLEASE Dems give me a break!! It would seem to me they are charging the people that can lest afford it not the ones that can buy the $40,000 + dollar electric cars to being with.


    Hello Washington, you can't get much greener than a bicycle. How about we get the same no sales tax deal like the electric cars get?
    Life is good O^o

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    If 100% of those funds went to improving bicycle infrastructure as well as removing dangerous debris from streets then I could get behind it, otherwise **** that ****.

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    John Wayne Toilet Paper nhluhr's Avatar
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    Woohoo! A convert!

    http://blog.cascade.org/2013/03/talk_with_orcutt/
    =====================
    A great conversation with Ed Orcutt
    March 8th, 2013 by Matthew Green


    State Representative Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama) found himself in the media – and all over the bike blogs, including ours – more than he wanted to be last week.

    A national tempest resulted from comments he wrote to a bike shop owner about how “bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride” because “the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.” It was the talk of the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.

    As Cascade Bicycle Club’s Legislative Affairs Manager, this seemed like a good opportunity for me to check in with Rep. Orcutt – and I’m glad I did! Yesterday, we had a great conversation about bikes, people who bike and transportation in general.

    First, as he had subsequently written, he apologized for what he called his “over the top” comments about bikes and pollution.

    Rep. Orcutt said he had received many calls and emails in the past few days that made him think, especially about the social benefits gained when more people choose to, and are able to, bike. Also, he recognized the negative impacts a bike tax could have on the owners of small bike shops, especially when those shops compete with Walmart or with shops just across the state line. And he pointed out that bikes don’t create the need for expensive road maintenance (he’s much more concerned about studded tires).

    We talked a lot about transportation funding. Many people think the gas tax pays for all transportation infrastructure, but actually the gas tax, car tabs and license fees related to cars together pay for only about one-half of the road system. The other half comes from sales tax, property tax, and federal income tax paid by everyone, including people who bike. State legislators most often deal with the gas tax, so that’s the part they tend to focus on; in contrast, local governments mostly rely on sales and property taxes for transportation. In addition, most bike commuters also own cars, so they pay the same car tabs even if they drive less.

    Add to that the social benefits of bike infrastructure that Rep. Orcutt mentioned – from improved health and less air pollution to taking cars off the road and improving road safety for everyone.

    We still have areas of disagreement, most notably when we take different approaches to the question of funding for bike infrastructure. Rep. Orcutt asks the question, how can bicyclists pay their share for the transportation infrastructure they are using? We think the right way to ask the question is, how can we all pay to build a transportation network makes it safe, convenient, and affordable to move people and goods?

    Our transportation network should support the safety and choices of everyone who needs to get around, whether by car, bus, ferry, train, foot or bike. The whole network needs further investment, but bicycle infrastructure has been perhaps the most neglected. In every survey we’ve seen, 60% or more of respondents say they would like to bike more often for commuting, running errand and recreation, but it is not safe or convenient for them to do so.

    Despite any differences, Rep. Orcutt and I both think that we agree more than we disagree. Earlier this legislative session, he voted in favor of our highest priority bill (relating to speed limits on neighborhood streets), and he expressed his support for another bill on our list (relating to safe passing distance with motorcycles overtake bicycles). Orcutt has also been a leader in making our Department of Transportation accountable and responsive on cost overruns.

    One final note: Some of the calls and emails to Rep. Orcutt were insulting and rude, and some even full of personal attacks. This is unacceptable and counter-productive. I apologized to Rep. Orcutt and to his legislative assistant, Amber York, who fielded many of those calls and emails. Cascade Bicycle Club encourages our members, and everyone, to share their thoughts with their elected officials with civility and respect.

    I thank Rep. Orcutt for his service and look forward to working with him on bike issues in the future.

  19. #19
    Senior Member OneLessFixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
    State Representative Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama)
    I stopped reading right there. Typical nonsense from some beatoff member of the "trees pollute more than cars" wing of the state GOP.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure."

  20. #20
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    One positive development from British Columbia's referendum to eliminate the HST (federal harmonized sales tax) and go back to the old PST (provincial sales tax) is that the province now has control of its consumption tax policy. And going back to the old PST rules means that the old rule exempting bicycles from the 7% PST are back in effect starting April 1. In a nutshell, if you buy a bicycle in BC on or after April 1, 2013:

    - you pay only the 5% GST (federal goods and services tax). You do not pay the 7% PST. Prior to April 1, you would have paid 12% HST.
    - anything you buy with the bike that attaches to it are also PST-exempt, but only at the time of sale of the bike.
    - the helmet should also be PST-exempt (it is "safety equipment," which is also PST-exempt).
    - later on, if you buy anything that is essential for the operation of the bike, there is no PST (tubes, tires, saddles, wheels, derailleurs, cables, etc.)
    - any service related to the bike is PST-exempt.
    - you do pay PST on any subsequent purchase of "accessories." These are things like: panniers, racks, lights (I think), bells, locks. Even fenders, so get those with the bike!
    - a powermeter built into the hub or crank should be PST-exempt because the hub or crank is an essential part of the bike.

    The only problem, for those coming from WA, is that bikes tend to be generally more expensive in Canada than in the US. I don't know why this is, because there are no tariffs (as far as I know). I think it just has to do with distributors just charging what the market will bear.

    Luis

  21. #21
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    Well said. Why don't they institute a road tax for the all electric vehicles?
    2011 Giant Defy3 Composite
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  22. #22
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rvav8r View Post
    Well said. Why don't they institute a road tax for the all electric vehicles?
    They will. Probably in some stupid fashion that costs more to implement than it brings in.
    Ed Miller
    Falls City, OR
    1993 Rocky Mountain Fusion
    2012 Fargo 2

  23. #23
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbattey View Post
    If 100% of those funds went to improving bicycle infrastructure as well as removing dangerous debris from streets then I could get behind it, otherwise **** that ****.
    +1
    Therein lies the rub. It wouldn't be the first time the state has diverted funds intended for one purpose to another.

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