Bicycle Diaries: Put your money where your pedals are? Part II

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Put your money where your pedals are? Part II


Last Thursday I posted about Oregon House Bill 3008. Proposed by State Rep Wayne Krieger (R), it would require all bikers to register their trusty steeds and purchase $54 licenses every two years. Not surprisingly the bill has sparked a pretty heated debate within the vélotariat. Perhaps it's my advanced age, but I don't think the idea of a bike tax is all that outrageous.

Indeed, it's quite common around the world. Many countries currently require bike licenses. And they've been doing it since the late 19th Century. The Netherlands issued the bike license above for 1932-33. Although not as stylish as its art deco predecessor, Switzerland continues to issue an annual red-metal license tag like this 1986 example to the right. And here in The States, many cities such as Los Angeles and Stillwater, in MN, currently require licenses. It would appear then that in all these instances local governments and their rolling citizens alike generally share the opinion first expressed by Oliver Wendell Holmes that Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. So for me then there are three big issues:

Is a bike tax unfair?
Is it unduly burdensome to bikers?
Will the generated revenues be used wisely?

More thoughts

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Blogger john said...

Is a bike tax unfair? Yes. Most bikers already pay taxes for roads and road use via property taxes, vehicle taxes, fuel taxes etc...

Is it unduly burdensome to bikers? Yes, we already pay taxes. How would we go about creating a new and fair tax especially for bikes?

Will the generated revenues be used wisely? Probably not. Will the amount or money generated by the tax even cover the cost of administration and enforcement?

Now if we want to have a nominal tax on new bikes on some kind of progressive scale so that expensive bikes provided the greatest share of revenue....say a 5$ base tax and 5% above $500 purchase price....and we could show how the money generated was going to be usefully spent......maybe....

25/3/09 14:45  

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