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Oregon transportation funding proposal includes 5% tax on new bicycles

Posted by on May 9th, 2017 at 11:21 am

State Senator Brian Boquist knows we can’t build or tax our way out of congestion; but he wants to try it one more time.

Last night in Salem the Joint Committee On Transportation Preservation and Modernization unveiled the outline of what will become a statewide transportation funding bill.

As expected, the proposal (PDF) includes earmarks for several major highway widening projects in the Portland region and a tax on the sale of new bicycles. Overall, the package would raise about $8.1 billion that would be phased in over 10 years. That money would come from a mix of new and existing taxes and fees. As we reported back in March, the ideas presented to the committee yesterday by Senators Brian Boquist and Lee Beyer (committee co-chairs) came from four main “work groups” that met in open-door meetings in the capitol over the past three months. The proposals were also greatly influenced by an 11-city statewide tour taken by committee members last summer as well as a report by the Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel that came out one year ago.

Here’s what they put on the table last night. As you read them, consider Sen. Beyer’s comments last night: “This proposal can change; but if we want to solve the transportation problems the people told us they want to solve, this gets us there. This is the minimum we should do.”

And for reference, here’s the table with new revenue streams and revenue estimates:

Highways

It’s clear what their priorities are. Just look at what will have earmarks, a construction timeline, and a clear “course of action” baked right into the legislation.

“Fixing congestion” was by far the most urgent issue for lawmakers heading into the session and that mantra continued last night. The proposal would raise $5.09 billion over 10 years to be spent on highway/bridge expansions, road maintenance and seismic retrofits. The revenue would come from four main sources: increases to the gas tax, registration and title fees; and a new motor vehicle excise tax. The committee also wants to include placeholder language in the bill that would put collections mechanisms for congestion pricing and tolling into motion.

“No matter how much we build, we cannot build our way out of congestion… What we need to do and what’s been successful elsewhere is to congestion pricing.”
— Brian Boquist, state senator and committee co-chair

The gas tax would go up six cents in year one and then it would ratchet up another 8 cents by 2027 for a total increase of 14 cents. Increases to motor vehicle title and registration fees would increase by a total of $40 over the next 10 years. The registration and title fees would be tiered based on a car’s miles per gallon rating. Lower mileage cars (who pay more in gas tax) would pay a lower fee than cars that are more fuel efficient (and who pay less in gas tax). (Note: Thanks to the Oregon Bike Bill, state law requires that at least 1 percent of all funding for new road projects is spent on bicycling and walking infrastructure.)

While presenting these ideas last night, Sen. Boquist, a Republican from the Willamette Valley, made it clear that these traditional revenue sources would not be enough. “We cannot tax our way out of congestion,” he said. “And no matter how much we build, we cannot build our way out of congestion… What we need to do and what’s been successful elsewhere is to congestion pricing.”

While he didn’t say it directly, Boquist understands that in order to improve the efficiency of our highways we need to price them in such a way that people think twice about exercising their driving privileges. On that note, Boquist said he feels some mix of tolling and congestion pricing will be part of Oregon’s fugure. He mentioned tolling I-5 between the Willamette (downtown Portland) and the Columbia River.

And speaking of driving privilege, another way the committee has proposed to raise funds is a new “vehicle dealer privilege tax” that would levy a one percent tax on the purchase of a new car. This would raise $73 million a year that would go into a new “congestion relief and carbon reduction fund”. The details of how this fund would work is still up for debate, but their idea is that the revenue must be tied directly to projects that have a direct impact on reducing congestion and making freight/truck traffic flow more easily.

“That ‘carbon reduction’ phrase… that’s not, ‘let’s go build green things’,” Boquist said last night. “The notion is, if you have a highway system that is clogged up and you were to move freight and trucks off that and onto rail [or some other mode], that’s the sort of projects we’re talking about — projects that take truck traffic or reduce congstion on the roads.”

Boquist said he’d anticipate a court challenge to the new tax because it would fall outside Article IX of the Oregon constitution relating to highway funds. He sees the new fund as a way to pay for “major projects” from a source that’s completely outside the state highway trust fund. Boquist described it as “An excise tax on the privilege to own a vehicle.” Boquist and Beyer said that even with this suite of new increases, the cost of driving in Oregon would still be lower than in most other states.

Overall the package includes about $6.7 billion for highway projects over 10 years (if you include the new vehicle tax). Keep in mind that half the funds would go directly to ODOT, 30 percent would be allocated to counties, and just 20 percent would go to cities.

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Transit

Committee Co-chair Lee Beyer likened transit to “a social service” that can’t be paid for through the highway fund. To raise revenue, the proposal includes a new statewide employee payroll tax of 1/10th of one percent. 85 percent of the funds would have to be spent on operational service improvements and cities with over 200,000 people would be required to purchase buses powered by natural gas/propane or electricity. The proposal specifically prohibits funding for light rail.

If the new tax passes, a person who makes minimum wage would pay about 39-cents a week or $20 a year. Someone with an annual income of over $100,000 would pay about $100 a year.

This proposal would raise about $1.07 billion $107 million annually for transit services statewide. (Note: That’s exactly the same amount recommended by the Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel report from May 2016.)

Bicycling and walking

A four or five percent excise tax on new bicycles will very likely be part of the upcoming legislation. We’ve been reporting on this for months now and it the idea appears to have only gained acceptance along the way. The new tax is estimated to raise $1.6 to $2.0 million per year.

Other funding for bikeway-specific projects (meaning paths not in the highway right-of-way) would include a $7 million set-aside in the Connect Oregon grant program (about what bike projects receive in the competitve process now) and $4 million in grants from a state lottery-funded program for linear parks administered by Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department.

Sen. Beyer said the funds would be used to, “Take care of off-road commuter routes… As an alternative to get out of the way of trucks.”

In addition, the proposal includes $10 million a year for Safe Routes to School projects that would come out of the state highway fund (and would require a 40 percent local match). Beyer said that amount would be enough to “Complete a safe route to school a quarter-mile around every elementary and middle school in the state.” Lawmakers are also proposing $10 million a year into the All Roads Transportation Safety Program they say would address “the 450 most dangerous transportation problems in the state”.

The safe routes funding is lower than the $32 million in House Bill 3230 that was lobbied for by The Street Trust and members of the Transportation for Oregon’s Future coalition. It’s also lower than the $15 million recommended by the Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel.

As for the bike tax, there was no mention of it in a statement released today by the Transportation for Oregon’s Future coalition. The Street Trust Policy Director Gerik Kransky said, “We are happy to see an initial transportation package that includes funding for trails and safe places to walk and bike.”

Last week the Street Trust convened a meeting of local bike shop owners to discuss the idea. Development Director Brittani Garner wrote in an email to invitees that, “This type of tax has come up before, and has never come to fruition. This year may be different… As The Street Trust begins to learn more about what will be included in the full transportation package, we want to have a conversation with you, our local bike industry partners, about the potential bicycle excise tax, and its impact in Oregon.” Also at that meeting was Alex Logemann, the state and local policy analyst with national (industry-supported) nonprofit People For Bikes and the Street Trust’s Policy Director Gerik Kransky.

We weren’t at the meeting (media was not invited) but sources say it was a robust discussion. We’ll report more about local bike shop owners reactions in the coming days.

What happens next

Last night’s meeting was just the start of the debate. This proposal will create the framework for what will surely be heated discussions over the next several weeks. Everything is subject to change, but lawmakers are under a lot of pressure to pass something and they don’t have a lot of time for major disagreements. The committee plans to meet again this Wednesday to hash out details of the proposal and whittle it into a form that can be passed onto legislative counsel where it will be transformed into an actual bill. Then a slate of public hearings will happen in June with a target date for a full vote of the legislature by mid-July.

At the end of their meeting last night, committee members were reluctant to set such a short timeline for when they’d be forced to make decisions. The process this year is much more public (the meetings are recorded live) and transparent than it has been in the past and it’s clear that as tension mounts, so does the stress of lawmakers. That dynamic caused one committee member (I couldn’t tell who) to say before the gavel struck last night, “Sometimes the old smoke-filled rooms don’t look all that bad.”

Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

248 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Sales tax bad, sales tax on bikes good?

    I’ve often thought that instead of 1% for bikes, that percentage should be based on the percentage of trips made by bicycles. Portland has a 6% mode split? Then 6% of road funds need to be spent on bike infrastructure.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Would be better to implement a state-wide sales tax on everything and call it a day. Targeting only bikes for a sales tax is idiotic.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

      I disagree. We need to get away from this mode-specific, user-specific dialogue. We are all in this together and if elected leaders had real guts and integrity they would create a narrative that convinced everyone to work for the common good. This “pay fair share” stuff isn’t how you set good policy. We agree on plans that dictate how our city/region/state should evolve into the future, then we should debate merits of methods to get us their in the quickest, fairest way possible. In many cases – especially in the urban and suburban context (aka where humans live and play) — using bicycles and transit is far more beneficial and sensible than using a single-occupancy car. But our policy doesn’t reflect this basic fact.

      The more we devolve into factions based on what vehicle we happen to be in for this or that trip the harder it will be to solve these problems.

      I want what’s best for Oregon, not simply what is best for bicycle users across the board. I want safe and smooth roadways between cities so we can travel across the state with relative ease. I want cities where I don’t feel like driving is the most efficient and safest mode. I want to have rural highways that welcome people in nonmotorized vehicles to explore the beauty of oregon like the native tribespeople did and the wagon-trains did after them.

      I am not defined by a mode of travel. Our policy needs to focus more on solutions and less on modes.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 11:54 am

        Fair enough. What you want is a lot more money. I also want things that are expensive (like education and mental health services), and I’m not sure how we convince Oregonians to open their wallets more to pay for them.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

          The privileged should always subsidize the under-privileged. Drivers should subsidize all other mods of transport. Rich, well-educated people should subsidize education for low-income people.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 12:09 pm

            In Portland, cyclists tend to be more “privileged” than drivers.

            If you look at home prices in the Lake Tahoe basin, you’ll see a clear increase in prices for the houses on the NV side of the border. This is because of the large income tax differential between CA and NV. If we increase our income taxes too much, people who can will leave, perhaps for Vancouver, where, again, there are no income taxes.

            Maybe this is ok, but if too many high earners move just a bit to the north because we’ve made taxes so high here, we might actually collect less.

            So while I agree with you in principle, the policies we craft in practice are more limited. Asking the wealthiest to pay for everything might not work as well as asking everyone to contribute something.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm

              In Portland, cyclists tend to be more “privileged” than drivers

              lol

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            • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 12:17 pm

              “In Portland, cyclists tend to be more “privileged” than drivers.”

              Source?

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              • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

                https://bikeportland.org/2014/05/08/great-new-census-maps-show-biking-rates-by-census-tract-105732

                Biking rates are higher in the higher income neighborhoods (on average).

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              • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm

                Could you explain the correlation to me? I don’t see how this proves that people who bike have more money than people who don’t.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm

                I’ve observed that the riding population tends to be whiter, maler, healthier, more abled, wealthier, less overweight, and more of whatever “privilege” you want to call out than the population at large, which I take for a proxy of drivers at large.

                You may disagree with me on one or two points in that list, but overall, you have to admit, cyclists are, as a group, more privileged than those who drive.

                So, if Adam H. is right, maybe we cyclists should be paying more.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 3:18 pm

                And here is an article about how people of color are more likely to ride bicycles. Also in this article: the poorer you are, the more likely you are to commute by bike.

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              • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm

                I have to admit that your observations are as good as statistical fact?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm

                Do those stats apply to Portland? I’m not sure our cycling demographics match national averages. And are you suggesting that cyclists in Portland are less white, less wealthy, less male, less healthy, less able, and more overweight than those who drive?

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              • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm

                So many issues with some of your links Adam.
                For starters:
                https://bikeportland.org/2014/01/30/biking-matters-most-to-lowest-income-local-households-new-data-shows-100713

                Are we really saying that a single person (since this was households, single people will fall under it) making less than $46K/year is “poor” and can’t be “privileged”?
                That’s about what my household of four makes and I consider us middle class.

                And trying to extrapolate national stats to Portland (regarding cycling) is tedious at best.

                You can point out that some inner neighborhoods have some levels of economic diversity, but on average they also have more wealth that poorer, outer neighborhoods.

                I know you weren’t here yet, but go back and look at the issues that came up when the Williams project was being planned.

                Most cycling commuters in Portland are lucky enough to be able to choose to be bike commuters. Thus in areas of Portland where you really do have poverty (east portland) you have much lower rates of cycling. This is true even more so now than it was 5 or 10 years ago due to gentrification and housing prices.

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              • soren May 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

                People with low incomes and people of color depend more on means other than driving alone. Transit is especially important to ensure mobility for these communities, who are twice as likely to be frequent transit riders as higher-income persons or white people.”

                Some nice graphs and charts here:

                http://www.oregonmetro.gov/news/you-are-here-snapshot-how-portland-region-gets-around

                Or…wait…maybe metro is also in on the conspiracy to take away our cars, bungalows, and private-public parking spaces…

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              • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

                HK, you may be right, but I have no idea and neither do you. And it sounds to me like you’ve got a flexible definition of privilege that no study could possibly prove anyway. When I gain weight in winter, am I less privileged than when I lose weight in the summer? Should I be entering my weight on my taxes?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm

                I just listed all the things I could think of that grant privilege and could be reasonably discerned from observation. There is no question that overweight people are discriminated against in our society.

                What definition of privilege would you prefer?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 5:39 pm

                Soren: so close! I was on track to totally agree with you until you went into full snark mode. No, there is no conspiracy.

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              • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 7:24 pm

                Hmm, things that grant privilege that can be visually discerned. ‘Cars’ should be on that list.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

                I may not be current, but I didn’t think privilege was something you could buy.

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              • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 8:16 pm

                I guess you haven’t heard of Mar-a-Lago.

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            • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

              Owners of Surly and Salsa bikes should be subsidizing Magna and Next owners.

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            • not that Mark May 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm

              From your comment below: “I’ve observed that the riding population tends to be whiter, maler, healthier, more abled, wealthier, less overweight, and more of whatever “privilege”…”

              I can also add to that list for myself; no dependents or anyone else I have to care for, a job/residence that makes commuting convenient and physically doable, employer who encourages bike commuting and provides secure parking, flexible work hours, and a good old man vs nature attitude.

              For me and most of my peers at work, bike commuting is a life style choice. We could ride the bus, or even drive, but we enjoy biking and get alot of physical and mental health benefits.

              I prefer “fortunate” to “privileged”.

              And I have noticed a significant increase in the number of women riding and parents with kids on long bikes over the last five years.

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              • 9watts May 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm

                For all of you who do not *see* the less privileged bicycling but may be open to the possibility that they are there anyway I recommend this very interesting article that I was unaware of until this week –

                The real question, the one that must be asked first, says Kastle Lund, executive director of the L.A. Bike Coalition, is, “Why do so many of us fail to see these groups as constituencies that even exist, let alone that we need and are duty-bound to serve?”

                Francisco is not invisible. These riders, on these streets, in the peril of traffic and smog, have not somehow made themselves hard to see. If I hadn’t seen them in 15 years of daily riding in Los Angeles—and if you haven’t seen them in your cities—it’s not because they are transparent.

                It’s because we are blind.

                http://www.bicycling.com/culture/advocacy/how-low-income-cyclists-go-unnoticed

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

                Or maybe it’s because cyclists are not primarily drawn from the ranks of the powerless in Portland.

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              • 9watts May 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm

                I guess it depends on how you define cyclist.
                If all one needs is a bike to be one then I suspect you may be wrong; if you need to read bikeportland and patronize the Bike Gallery, then yes.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 10:32 pm

                Or maybe, HK, it’s because you’re not paying attention or frankly, even listening to others around you.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2017 at 10:47 am

                Ok, I just put the pieces together. This is what people mean when they say “driving is a privilege”. I’m sorry I’m so slow, but I think I get it now.

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              • SE Rider May 10, 2017 at 12:42 pm

                I think those of us who actually live in and around lower income neighborhoods definitely see these lower income or “un-priveleged” cyclists. But we see a lot more “privileged” cyclists when we’re biking on inner Clinton or Williams.
                Based on the bikes I see either group riding, I’m not convinced this new bike tax is really going to penalize the former group like some are suggesting.

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              • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm

                Why penalize any cyclists?

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            • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm

              From the same page Soren linked:
              “People that most need inexpensive transportation options often have the least access to them.
              As noted above, housing is sometimes more affordable here but these areas generally have less access to frequent transit service or safe, connected biking and walking routes. As a result, people here are more likely to need to take on the expense of car ownership to meet their needs.”

              The graphic also shows that non-white Portlanders use bikes at about the same frequency as white Portlanders. Given that there are a lot more white Portlanders that would mean a lot more total white cyclists.

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            • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

              If you live in Vancouver, but work in Portland, then you pay Oregon income tax; and if you shop in Vancouver then you pay Washington sales tax on top of that.

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            • Matt S. May 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm

              People still have to pay income tax if they live in Washington and work in Portland. Then you have to contend with the bridge commute. Property taxes are lower. Unless you live and work in Washington, Oregon still gets its money.

              People that want to live in Portland will because of life style choices. I’ve met many people who live in Portland and work in WA, they say quality of life is better here, even with the income and property tax. Granted, their children are in the Alameda school district.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm

                If you have any significant investments, as most wealthy people have, they would pay no tax on them if they lived in WA, even if they worked in OR. I also know of at least one engineering company that has offices in Vancouver and Portland to help their employees find the right tax environment.

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

                HK,
                They do pay federal tax on their investments. And they pay state sales tax that Oregonians don’t pay.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 10:19 am

                Of course they pay federal tax — 15% in many cases; adding an additional 9% OR tax on top of that is a pretty steep increase. Taxing me at 7% on the money I spend on taxable items is preferable to taxing me 9% on everything I earn.

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

                HK,
                I think you would get overwhelming passage by the voters for any ballot measure eliminating the Oregon income tax and replacing it with a sales tax. Pick one or the other. Not both.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 12:54 pm

                I am agnostic on sales tax vs. income tax. But whatever system or systems we use, they need to collect enough money for our government to do what we’re asking it to do.

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          • Lester Burnham May 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

            Such an elitist attitude.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 3:30 pm

              Taken straight out of 45’s playbook – don’t like someone’s ideas? Call them an elitist. Classy.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 9, 2017 at 12:04 pm

          I just want us to do sensible things. Taxing something that’s neither a luxury product or a drain on society/public health risk just doesn’t make sense. Bicycling is how people move around streets – and for many people it’s the best/only option they have. Bicycling also contributes to our society in innumerable ways. It’s a net benefit! So again, why tax it? (The answer is purely partisan politics and deal-making that just leads to more politics and less good policy IMO).

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          • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm

            Many states and even more localities have sales taxes on food, including staple foods. Portland has an a poll tax for arts. I’m afraid we’ve long ago left sensibility behind.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

              food items usually taxed because they are bad for public health.

              i think transportation is a more important civil right than arts. arts are more of a luxury in that case… but I hear your point.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

                Access to food is a more important civil right than transportation.

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              • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm

                Jonathan, you are talking about so-called sin taxes on pop and candy, like in California and New York. I’m talking about taxes on all food items, including milk, fruit, flour, meat, veggies, etc etc. SD, WV, and several other states have sales taxes on these items, as do many cities in other states, including mine. Much of the revenue is used to pay for highways, schools, and prisons (only Oregon separates highway funding from the rest; all other states combine all revenues.)

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

                It might be worth reminding ourselves what a civil right actually is:

                From Wikipedia: Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals.

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              • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

                I think Adam means an ethical “human right” rather than a legal “civil right.”

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

                Yes, access to food is human right, however, I consider human rights to be included in civil rights; i.e. I believe the state has an obligation to provide its citizens with basic human rights, and thus in this context a human right is also a civil right.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

              Well, considering who is currently in charge of the federal Dept. of Education, I for one am glad we have a local arts tax.

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              • Lester Burnham May 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

                It’s burning money. And what do we get for it?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm

                We get a f-ing racist Christian supremacist in charge, that’s what.

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              • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 6:43 am

                What does Christian have to do with it?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 10, 2017 at 8:45 am

                Betsy DeVos is a Christian supremacist.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2017 at 9:26 am

                Most faiths maintain their supremacy and claim a monopoly on the truth.

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              • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 9:31 am

                Isn’t she a voucher supremacist?

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm

                Betsy has devoted her life to improving education. From all reports, that is something that is sorely needed.

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              • Dan A May 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm

                AHAHAHAHA!! Thanks for the laugh.

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              • Dan A May 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm

                Hitler devoted his life to trying to help Germany.

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          • soren May 9, 2017 at 7:37 pm

            the last thing i want is for us to do “sensible” things (the cousin of “common sense”). the overton window of sensibility got us where we are now.

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          • Alex May 9, 2017 at 10:57 pm

            Totally. If the goal is to solve the congestion issues, investment in bike infrastructure to incentivize more bike travel is the perfect way. Plus you get the side-benefit of healthier people.

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          • Kevin Love May 10, 2017 at 3:40 pm

            Does this mean that you are opposed to income taxes?

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      • RH May 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        The problem is that in the US, the only thing folks care about is the ‘me’ and not the ‘we’

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        • rachel b May 10, 2017 at 11:53 pm

          USA!

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        • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:37 pm

          That is why we are the number 1 economy in the world. That is why we give more to help other people and nations than all other nations combined. You can do little to help others if you are struggling for your own survival.

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      • Greg Spencer May 9, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        I think it’s good and rational for public policy to discriminate between different modes of transport. Each has a different set of costs to the community and environment. The problem is that there’s not a fair accounting of all the costs of auto use and little recognition of all the ways it’s subsidized. If it were properly assessed, it wouldn’t be as popular. A differentiated policy does not need to be personal and no one should be identified by their transport choices. But when when you use a mode, you should be charged based on that mode’s costs.

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      • Marty Scheafer May 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        I see your point however, Did you see all the money is earmarked for Portland projects. Nothing for bikers.
        Also a 14c per gallon gas tax so Oregon’s gas tax will be 44cent per gallon.
        Plus, Amazon isn’t in Oregon and will pay a fat Zero. So lets take more business from small Business and just hand it to Amazon who pays ZERO in tax to Oregon

        Lets me smart

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      • matt picio May 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

        There’s an easy way for everyone to pay their fair share – levy a single transportation tax, base it on individual income with a tax of 0% for anyone below the poverty line. People who can afford a private jet have a disproportionate impact on the environment. Also, it should be levied against income earned in Oregon, even if the owner of the income source lives in another state. Sorry Paul Allen – your Trailblazers generate a lot of trips, you should be taxed by Oregon for your impact here.

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    • Todd Boulanger May 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Kitty, good point…perhaps this would be the negotiating point for cyclists (and their business community) support for any sales tax.

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  • dan May 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Would love to see how they arrived at that revenue projection. $4m in revenue would be 80,000 bikes sold at $1,000 each, or 160,000 bikes sold at $500 each. That # of bike sales sounds high to me, but what do I know?

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  • SE May 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    dan
    Would love to see how they arrived at that revenue projection. $4m in revenue would be 80,000 bikes sold at $1,000 each, or 160,000 bikes sold at $500 each. That # of bike sales sounds high to me, but what do I know?
    Recommended 1

    that’s how I see it too , they need to cut back on the wacky weed ?

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    • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Oregon has roughly 1% of the total US population. In 2015, somewhere between 17.4 million and 20.2 million bicycles were sold in the USA, so a conservative estimate for Oregon would be between 174,000 and 202,000 bicycles sold in the state in 2015, probably higher given that Oregonians are more likely to ride than most other Americans.

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      • B. Carfree May 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        Whether or not Oregonians are more likely to ride than the average American doesn’t matter. The median priced bike sold in America is about $100 and sold in a big box store. Those bikes don’t get ridden much before they are discarded. That’s what this tax will collect on, children’s bikes. The far fewer higher-end bikes will either avoid the tax altogether by being purchased on-line or on the other side of the state line or will be too few in number to notice.

        Maybe I’m projecting. My expensive bikes were purchased from out of state builders and my work-horses are decades old, but I ride over 10k miles every year, my spouse rides nearly as much and we have purchased exactly two bikes in our 18 years in Oregon, each at a cost of $300 for our son’s use. That’s about what neighboring families who don’t ride at all have spent on new bikes in that time frame.

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        • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 3:22 am

          Exactly. The tax isn’t aimed at you or at any of the BP readers, it’s aimed at the buyers of Walmart & Target bikes, including the sales of the thousands of adult Magna & Next bicycles. Unfortunately this what most people buy – total junk.

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        • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 6:58 am

          I think this is exactly right. Bike sales numbers for youth bikes are hard to find, but I did find a study that indicated in 2015 1/3 of all new bikes sold had wheels smaller than 20″. Not sure why they decided on that wheel size as the cutoff point, since many youth mountain bikes have 20-24″ wheels (I’d guess this is the most popular category), and the standard wheel size for BMX bikes is 20″ as well. So the number of youth bikes sold could easily be more than half of total bike sales.

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  • SE May 9, 2017 at 11:50 am

    My GUESS is that most riders don’t buy new bikes that often. I tend to hold
    on to good/proven/setup bikes.
    Would like to see actual sales figures and total Dollar values.

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    • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      I would bet the majority of the “new” bikes purchased are kid’s bikes (most of which are likely under $100)

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      • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 7:09 am

        These are national figures, for 20 million bikes sold in 2015:
        Bike Sales by Category Percent of Sales
        Mountain Bike 24 %
        Hybrid / Cross 21 %
        Road 20 %
        Comfort 15 %
        Youth 13 %
        Cruiser 6 %
        Recum / Tandem 1 %

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        • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

          As noted in my comment above, that study only counts bikes with wheels smaller than 20″ as youth bikes. So what they are taking about is bikes for ~7 and under, or little kids bikes, not youth bikes.

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          • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 10:29 am

            True, but then Alex Moulton adult bikes also have 17″ wheels, and most folding bikes like Bike Friday & Brampton 20″. Still, it’s a small market and you are by in large right. Some of the mountain bike market is also presumably for kids. Not sure where 27.5″/650 fit in.

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      • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 7:13 am

        More stats:
        Bicycle Industry Statistics Data
        Total number of bicycles produced annually 132,000,000
        Total value of the U.S. bicycle market $6,100,000,000
        Percent of U.S. bicycles that were imported from Japan or Taiwan 99 %
        Average number of bikes per household 1.5 bikes
        Number of people who have been cycling in the past 12 months in the U.S. 59,670,000
        Percent of people who store their bicycles indoors 31 %
        Total number of bike shop employees 71,496

        Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/bicycle-industry-statistics/

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    No surprise that light rail is specifically blocked from this bill. Rural and suburban republicans love to take jabs at “those crazy lefties in Portland”.

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    • Mike Sanders May 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Blocking MAX would kill the SW MAX project, and it might kill off the ped/bike trail proposed to run alongside it. SW MAX would help to alleviate longstanding traffic problems that bring a freeway and two significant state highways to a standstill twice every weekday. The R’s argument that MAX forces housing prices up and brings crime is on shaky ground at least. Stalling MAX (and maybe streetcars, too) would be a terrible decision that might end up being regretted 10 or 20 years from now. Keeping MAX and streetcar extensions and upgrades on the table is a must.

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  • Peter W May 9, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I’d worry that we set up a bike tax now, with the good intention that it’d be used to expand the total available bike funding, but then years later lawmakers would question why we’re spending money on bikes from other pots, when you have a dedicated bike-funding pot.

    I’d also worry that though we think this would remove the haters argument that “bikes don’t pay taxes, so get off the road”, they’d just move on to “bikes don’t pay enough taxes, get off the road”. Their line of argument will only stop when taxes are so high that the bikes have all gotten off the road.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      I’d also worry that though we think this would remove the haters argument that “bikes don’t pay taxes, so get off the road”, they’d just move on to “bikes don’t pay enough taxes, get off the road”. Their line of argument will only stop when taxes are so high that the bikes have all gotten off the road.

      Yep. Don’t expect any semblance of logic coming from car-heads. Also, shame on the Street Trust for supporting this regressive tax.

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    • VTRC May 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      I agree, I honestly thought that if we pay this tax and all of a sudden the “you don’t pay your share” crowd accepted us with open arms and we could move onto fixing all of our infrastructure… Well I’d be the first to advocate for it.

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      • 9watts May 9, 2017 at 9:38 pm

        The you don’t pay your fare share accusation arises from a misunderstanding of how those who rely on different modes currently pay into the system and how much their mode choices drain those coffers. As this report http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf reveals, those who chiefly drive generally pay less than their mode costs society, and those who chiefly bike overpay. So saying that if we were to pay this tax then those who (falsely) assume we aren’t currently contributing will accept defeat is absurd, ridiculous, & nonsensical. Accepting the flawed premise this all started with actually makes it less likely that we’ll ever get out of this universe of alternative facts. I do wonder how many more times this nonsensical line of reasoning is going to come up in comments here.

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        • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

          I wonder if we’ll ever hear this truth brought up by one of our leaders.

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      • SD May 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

        I would expect, if implemented, the “bike tax” to be used as proof that cyclists “don’t pay their fare share.”

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  • oliver May 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Boy, they’re just not going to give up until we get a consumption tax in this state are they?

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    • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Here in Greensboro NC we have a 2% sales tax on food, to pay our 50% match for our new freeway bypass. Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

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  • rick May 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Where is the Oregon tax for metal-studded tires for cars? The state of Washington has a fee for those studs in Washington !

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  • Mark May 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    This will affect many more people than just those buying new bikes. This will affect me personally, as I work in a shop that sells new bikes. We have a significant number of customers from Washington and California who choose to buy bikes from us to save on their local sale taxes. This will definitely hurt our bottom line and our ability to hire and retain employees. The profit margins in a retail bike shop are not especially generous.

    Also, why not tax *all* new vehicle sales at the same rate?

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    • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Right, I have no idea why we would subsidize driving so heavily, and then charge a tax on new bicycles that is 5 TIMES as much as on new cars.

      Who can afford to buy a new car anyway? I have never owned a new car. I have bought 3 new bicycles in 25 years though.

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      • Lester Burnham May 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        Believe it or not, some people who made good decisions make a decent income and buying a vehicle is not that much of a burden on them.

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        • dan May 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm

          I made good (or at least “safe”) decisions and make a decent income, but buying a new car is for suckas!

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          • dan May 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

            Note: I say this having purchased a new car a few years ago. Never again!

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            • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 11:51 am

              You used to be able to buy a new strippy model Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, even a Chevy S10, or Ford Ranger with no A/C, rollup windows, no power door locks, no extras of any kind, not even a radio, for a fairly low price. You knew the Honda or Toyota would go 250K miles or more so it was a reasonable purchase. Now I don’t know if they even offer a strippy model; and the lowest price is not reasonable.

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        • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

          Then surely they can afford more than a 1% tax.

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        • wsbob May 11, 2017 at 10:11 am

          “Believe it or not, some people who made good decisions make a decent income and buying a vehicle is not that much of a burden on them.” burnham

          Some people realize that buying a new motor vehicle, can help them make money…employment…and save money…less hassle and money spent on making repairs on used vehicles.

          I’m a fan of using bikes for practical and recreational travel, and while I do feel use of bikes for travel can help to keep everyone moving that needs to be, despite congestion on the road from excessive motor vehicle use…if anything, it’s use of road with bikes that effectively is being subsidized. Would we even have the amount of miles and high quality of roads we do, in Oregon and much of the rest of the U.S., if it were not for the major use of roads with motor vehicles? (Most of which people are free to travel with bikes. ). Perhaps not.

          Whether or not people commonly drive personal cars to the extent they’ve become accustomed to, the U.S. still does need a well built and maintained road system connecting regions of the nation with each other. It’s the economic health of the nation that has mandated the provision of much of the road system we have today. People being taxed on the fuel they use to power motor vehicles, is one way to bring in revenue to build and maintain roads. Cost of consumer goods too, reflect some of the money that goes to roads.

          People using the roads with bikes for travel, to some extent, are riding the coat tails of the greater need for state and national roads that had them built and keeps them maintained. Which isn’t a bad thing, but at least currently, of all the people using the roads for personal travel, people biking are a very small percentage of that total. And, people using the road with bikes, likely represent a miniscule percentage of the total transport of goods, the roads are being used for by freight transport with motor vehicles.

          U.S. society, it’s cities, towns and communities, through higher quality provision of infrastructure for bike travel, stands a good chance of doing better towards supporting healthier conditions for living in this country. One way or another though, the money to build and maintain the roads, has to be obtained from somewhere, or we simply will have far fewer miles of them, or worse…not enough for people to be able to meet their daily travel needs.

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    • Jason H May 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Conversely, I many would strongly look into purchasing new bikes either through many direct out of state sales options or from a shop in Vancouver if they waive WA sales tax for Oregon residents as they do for everything else there.

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      • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Most states are legally obliged to collect sales taxes for other states if such a tax exists (Colorado and Ohio are known exceptions, there may be others). If the Washington bike shop owner knows that you are from Oregon (through your credit card, for example), the owner will not be able to legally waive that particular tax, but they can waive it for all the overpriced but fashionable Rapha clothing and $300 worth of accessories you’ll buy.

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        • Jason H May 9, 2017 at 1:24 pm

          Since said bicycle would not need to be registered in Oregon like a motor vehicle, I do not think there would be any legal compulsion for WA shops to disclose sales to Oregon residents to the state of Oregon. I see no easy way for the 5% tax to be enforced on bikes sold out of state (I’ll get it shipped here in a large flat screen TV box 😉 it’ll get treated better by UPS that way too).

          The waiving of the WASHINGTON general sales tax (6.5% + local additions) is a different thing, and something that SW WA businesses depend on to get OR customers (why there are so many car dealers in Vancouver catering to the Oregon market). I’m sure WA shops will gladly do it.

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          • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 1:38 pm

            I doubt it. They could not only loose their business license, but by deliberately helping you or another customer to evade taxes they could also face criminal penalties. Remember, the WA sales tax waiver for non-taxed out-of-state residents is an option for businesses, not a requirement. Pretty quickly they’ll know about the new Oregon tax; it may be even part of their cash register software. Your credit card will give you away as an Oregon resident. On the other hand, if you paid by cash and didn’t declare that you are from Oregon, then you wouldn’t pay the Oregon tax, but then you’d have to pay the Washington sales tax. Either way you’re screwed.

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    • dwk May 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      I bought a frame and build up an expensive bike this winter.
      I don’t think that would qualify to be taxed under this bill.
      Just sell all your bikes not “complete”.
      Take off the wheels and sell the frame and wheels separately.
      This is just a dumb idea…..

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  • rick May 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Where is the bike path adjacent to Highway 217? Homes in Metzger were bulldozed to make the highway.

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    • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Hall Blvd.

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  • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I’d like to know when we will tax soccer balls too. If cars get a 1% tax and bikes get a 5% tax, soccer balls should taxed at least 10%.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Tax shoes too! Those lousy pedestrians are freeloading off hard-working Americans by using sidewalks FOR FREE while jaywalking and staring at their phones. /s

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      • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

        Not to worry; in my tax plan, shoes get a 20% tax. Socks are 30%.

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        • B. Carfree May 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm

          And of course the nice merino wool socks will be taxed at 40% (50% if they are cycling socks).

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    • El Biciclero May 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Yeah, really—what’s with 1% for new cars, but 4% – 5% for new bikes? How is that “fair”?

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  • Billy May 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Jonathan don’t we talk about paying a fair share when it comes to taxing the wealthy and corporations? I’m not against a tax (not more than 5%) on new bikes if we have reasonable assurance that the funds will go bike infrastructure. We are in need of more and better bicycle infrastructure, and it costs money. This is a concession I’m willing to consider.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      i’m willing to consider it too billy… i will be expanding on my feelings about the bike tax in a separate post (wanted to share the broader outline here first).

      But yes, I’m happy to be taxed and licensed and registered… but .. BUT… it must come with a commensurate level of systemic recognition and respect. This bill doesn’t do that. It feels like to me that we are taxing bicycle use while still just spending a few crumbs on bicycling infrastructure relative to funds for auto use.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        Licenses should only be required for things that are potentially dangerous to others – driving, gun ownership, construction, etc. as proof that you are knowledgeable of the risks to the public and qualified to do the action the license grants. Bicycling does not fit this definition, and thus, should never be licensed. We don’t require licenses to walk or take public transport, do we?

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        • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

          Sorry, but this is just way too easy. Everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians, is more or less required to have government-issued ID by the police to prove your identity, be it a non-driver state ID, green card or passport, which costs money. And Trimet requires that you pay a fee to board their vehicles, be it a ticket or pass. These all raise some revenue, even if it’s nothing like a gas tax.

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          • colton May 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

            “Everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians, is more or less required to have government-issued ID by the police to prove your identity”

            A quick search shows this to not be true, at least for pedestrians. I’m pretty darn sure we’ve been over the cyclist aspect of this too, and it was determined that no license or id card is required.

            https://www.tcnf.legal/refusal_identify/

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          • OregonJelly May 9, 2017 at 6:00 pm

            Sure, it generates revenue, but there’s no guarantee that it even covers the cost of administering the program. This is the primary reason that bicycle licensing never goes anywhere, even in highly anti-bike areas. It doesn’t stop people from proposing it though.

            What’s the cost of administering the new bike tax? It’s surely not $0, but that cost is conveniently ignored when making revenue projections.

            Personally, I’m not against the tax because it’s a bike tax. I’m against it because this is supposedly a state without a sales tax. I would have the same position if this were a tax on lipstick or tattoo ink.

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            • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

              You already have them for gas and hotel stays, and I believe Ashland has a local sales tax, as allowed by Oregon state law. I personally detest sales taxes, as I find they hurt poor people most, and those who successfully evade them tend to be wealthier folks, or at least those who can afford to maintain a business license and file taxes accordingly. But then it could be worse, as in most of Europe, where there is usually a 20% VAT.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 7:47 pm

                As someone who thinks we consume too much, I am predisposed to support consumption taxes.

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              • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 3:32 am

                I agree. Sales taxes on basic foods works: When I moved to Portland in 1997, I weighed 220 lbs. When I left in 2015 I weighed 350 lbs. Thanks to sales tax on food here, I’m starting to slim down again. Obviously age, chronic unemployment, and stress had nothing to do with my weight – purely external factors – as are genetics, gut bacteria, and the abuse of light rail.

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              • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 7:03 am

                Enjoy your new-found privilege!

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              • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

                Yup. I’ve got White Privilege AND elitist man-speak privilege, in ultra-conservative pulled-pork North Carolina. I’ve got those over-educated unemployment blues…

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          • Gary B May 10, 2017 at 9:02 am

            “Everyone, including bicyclists and pedestrians, is more or less required to have government-issued ID by the police to prove your identity.”
            That is absolutely untrue. And I encourage you, if able, to exercise your right to not show identification, as I did recently when an officer asked me for ID without cause (passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over). Admittedly I’m privileged enough to be able to tell the officer “no” without fear of retribution, but I encourage others in a similar position to do the same.

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        • 9watts May 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

          I’ve copied below some interesting language found in a google search for ‘license vs certificate’
          LICENSING
          A license is a permission to do something that otherwise is forbidden. In most cases, a license is required or mandatory for engaging in that activity. For instance, a drivers license is considered mandatory to drive a car on the public roads. An exception is that a house may be built by someone who is not a licensed contractor.
          A license is given by the government, and is a government privilege. It therefore presumes that the activity in question is a privilege, not a right. The privilege may be bestowed by the federal, state or local government.
          A license involves the police power of the state. That is, if one violates the licensing law, either by acting without a license, or failing to uphold the rules governing the license privilege, one is subject to prosecution under the civil or criminal laws of the governing body.
          The purpose of licensing, whether admitted or not, is to restrict entry and control a profession or activity.
          CERTIFICATION
          Certification is a statement or declaration that one has completed a course of study, passed an examination, or otherwise met specified criteria for certification.
          Certification is not a permission to act, but rather a statement of completion or qualification.
          Certification is a private matter, issued by a private organization. It does not involve the police power of the state, and is not a state privilege.
          Certification is based on the premise that there is a right to work. Certification only provides the consumer with more information about a practitioner. It also gives practitioners a way to increase their competency through a course of study and exams, and to advertise or inform others of their completion of this course of study.
          The purpose of certification is mainly to set standards, educate practitioners and inform the public. It may, however, be used to control entry if combined with state laws. See the section below on ‘combinations’.
          from here: http://www.anma.org/licvscert.html

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      • mikeybikey May 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        exactly. there is no real commitment to the development and maintenance of 8-80 cycling facilities here. If the bill included mandates (i.e.40mph+ = separate path, 30mph+ = grade separate cycle track, etc, etc.) then maybe we could start having this conversation.

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    • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Why do we need bicycle infrastructure? What external forces are creating this need?

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  • Greg Spencer May 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    The bike tax is a nuisance and it’s stupid, but it’s not the stupidest aspect of this bill. What strikes me most is the characterization of public transit as “’a social service’ that can’t be paid for through the highway fund.” This is madness, and terrible policy from Portland’s standpoint. Transit is a way to move people, just like cars, except way more space efficient. If lawmakers want to tackle congestion, they need to fund transit through transport levies and prioritise transit on roads — making more efficient use of the streets and freeways in the metro area. Most of the proposed projects called “congestion relief” are road and bridge widenings with no thought about managing the induced demand they’ll create. Particularly in Portland’s current fast-growth phase, these enlarged roads will fill right back up with single-occupancy vehicles. Trip speeds will be the same or longer and we’ll have more noise and pollution with increased car traffic. Portland’s main deficiency when it comes to transport is the lack of support and vision for transit. This bill just continues a car-centric, traffic jam course for Portland.

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    • Gary B May 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

      I took that statement as positive recognition. That it can’t be paid through the Highway Fund is a statement of fact, not value (by my reading). That it is a social service is a great thing! That’s recognition that it’s the responsibility of all to provide for it through a tax, not just rely on user fees.

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  • Buzz May 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Complete BS – what we’ve all come to expect from our politicians these days.

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  • Jason H May 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Anyone know if this tax has a maximum limit? It’s still ridiculous to even consider a excise tax due to the non-conjestion, non-polution and (virtually) non-road wear that bicycles cause. But $50 on a $1000 commuter bike seems (eyeroll) somewhat more logical compared to having to pay $600 for someone buying their dream Pinarello or Moots or similar that gets ridden recreationally less often. Why not a $25 flat fee or something?

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    • David Hampsten May 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      This tax is essentially an import tax, as 99% of bicycles sold in the USA are imported, mostly from Taiwanese and Japanese companies, with bikes made in China, Vietnam, and other distant lands. (Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/bicycle-industry-statistics/) Even Salsa & Surly are mostly imported. The great majority of bikes sold come from Walmart and Target, at retail prices well under $200 and manufacturing costs below $50/bike. Even the chop shops have trouble competing with that. Basically the legislature wants to tap into those sales by having a local tariff, knowing full well that most “Portlandia” cyclists will find a get-around for the tax, such as ordering online or buying using a DBA tax waiver.

      I do however feel sincerely sorry for the small independent bike shop owners who are already hurting from falling in-shop bike sales and the overall nationwide bicycle over-supply – yet another piece of pain.

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  • Nick W May 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Not to mention that nicer MTBs are not often used on public streets anyway.

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    • meh May 9, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Correct, but then that increases car use on the roads with everyone driving to Sandy Ridge and Mackenzie river trails. MTB’s should be taxed even higher based on the excessive road use they create.

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      • rick May 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm

        just like giant SUVs ?

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        • meh May 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm

          Double it when those SUV’s are sporting a bike rack full of MTB’s

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      • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        We already have a (vastly underused) mechanism for that: the gas tax.

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  • Jon May 9, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    To me the worst thing in this proposal is the 0.1% payroll tax increase. Once again general tax money is being used to subsidize primarily a benefit for automobiles. This should be gas and registration fees only in my opinion.
    From Oregonlive:
    The proposal calls for the following tax hikes over the next decade:

    >> Increasing the gas tax by 14 cents, to 44 cents per gallon
    >> Increasing title fees by $40, to $117
    >> Increasing registration fees by $40, to $83, and adding a tiered structure
    >> 0.1 percent payroll tax
    >> 5 percent tax on new bicycle sales
    >> 1 percent tax on new vehicle sales

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/05/oregon_transportation_package.html#incart_river_home_pop

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    • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      If it benefits automobiles, then 99% of the population directly benefits and 100% indirectly benefits by having access to every product brought in via truck. 99% of cyclists also drive automobiles.

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      • Dan A May 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

        We will still have those benefits without spending a billion dollars on this new proposal.

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      • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm

        “If it benefits automobiles, then 99% of the population directly benefits”

        Have you heard of climate change? That is a lot bigger deal than the box of Kleenex that Amazon shipped to your door.

        ” and 100% indirectly benefits by having access to every product brought in via truck.”

        I can do without all those things and one of these days I suspect we’ll discover that the rest of us can too.

        “99% of cyclists also drive automobiles.”

        Care to cite a source for that number?
        I guarantee you that is not correct. 12% of households in Portland don’t own a car for starters. My daughter is 12 and she rides a bike everywhere but doesn’t drive, and I could go no.

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        • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 1:34 am

          How about the food you buy at the grocery store? Do you and your daughter benefit by having that trucked into Portland? How about the trucks that haul away garbage and recycling – do you benefit from that? What about fire trucks, ambulances and police cars – could you benefit from those some day? Yeah, I made up the 99%, you got me on that one, but it’s not far off.

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          • 9watts May 12, 2017 at 6:36 pm

            I think you’ve wandered into the wilderness, lost sight of the thing we were arguing about. I never said that there weren’t benefits to the way we’ve set up society based on fossil fuel extraction and burning. But we now realize (though you seem to be in denial about this) that the costs of having gone down this particular road are turning out to be orders of magnitude greater than the benefits we’ve so thoroughly gotten ourselves used to. So enumerating the tiddlywinks benefits from trucks bringing groceries, or ambulances hauling away the injured at this stage seems rather silly. We should be scrambling to back ourselves out of these dependencies, not tallying the conveniences.

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      • dwk May 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

        Why is a pro auto spokesman being given a forum here?

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  • Ryan May 9, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    On the bright side, maybe I can use this to get my wife to let me buy that new bike sooner rather than later… “Honey, do you really want me to have to pay all of that money in taxes later? It just doesn’t make sense to NOT buy it now! I’m just trying to look out for our family.” 😛

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  • mikeybikey May 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    assuming bicycles are covered under the no sales tax exemptions in washington, this is good news for bike shops in vancouver.

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  • bikeninja May 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    The bike sales tax seems impractical to implement given the amount of funds raised. Since Oregon does not have a sales tax infrastructure and bikes do not require license or registration there does not seem to be a good way to track payment of the tax. Do we set up a “Bike Control Commission” like the OLCC to handle and control the import of bikes? Will crafty bike retailers just rename their products ( two wheeled mobility scooters).Or will bikes be sold unassembled to avoid the tax. My biggest fear is the addition of an overcomplicated registration and tracking infrastructure to what is now a simple business for little gain.

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  • Daniel (teknotus) Johnson May 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I’m always against sales taxes. Making a mode of transportation that would reduce demands on infrastructure more expensive is just idiotic.

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  • Beth H May 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    The simplest way to get around all this nonsense is to buy a used bike from a private party.
    ..::mic drop::..

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  • Josh Chernoff May 9, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Why is it that the people who feel that cyclists should be taxed because its only fair that they pay their fair share are also opposed to taxing drivers per mile that they use on the road? Well its simple its because they are selfish hypocrites who don’t care about you. If they really feel this is a matter of fairness then where are all the toll booths?

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  • Tom May 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    If we are going to have a bike sales tax then shouldn’t we also have a shoe sales tax. When will the pedestrains start paying their way. Also ADA ramps are not free, so where is the wheelchair and walker sales tax. And what about those freeloading scateboarders paying 0%.

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    • Dan A May 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Now that’s a Segway. Er….segue.

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  • RyanT May 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Lets not forget that bicyclists are paying for the roads they use already through property taxes they pay.

    “Most walking and bicycling takes place on local streets and roads that are primarily paid for through property taxes and other general local taxes. Walking and bicycling inflict virtually no damage on roads and streets, and take up only a tiny fraction of the road space occupied by vehicles. Bicyclists and pedestrians likely pay far more in general taxes to facilitate the use of local roads and streets by drivers than they receive in benefits from state and federal infrastructure investment paid for through the gas tax.” – See more at: http://www.frontiergroup.org/reports/fg/who-pays-roads#sthash.Q2n1byyT.dpuf

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  • matt savage May 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    $2m gets us about, what, 2 blocks of pavement. That’s just an overlay, not even a grind and overlay…

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  • rick May 9, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    How about the numerous cars, suvs, and Subarus driving around in this 75 degree weather with metal-studded tires?

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  • GlowBoy May 9, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Bicycling is a public good, and should be encouraged. Most bike trips are trips NOT taken in polluting, dangerous, road-clogging automobiles, and more bicycling means lower healthcare costs for society.

    Not only should bicycles not be taxed at a higher rate than automobiles, they should be reverse-taxed. Here’s a revenue-neutral idea: tax motor vehicles at 2%, with the total revenue of that extra 1% given back to bicycle buyers as a flat refund. Yes, I’m aware this means poor people who buy cheap bikes may actually net money for doing it. That makes this idea even better.

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  • Kenny May 9, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I am actually rather Livid.

    Let me get this Straight.

    5% tax on bicycle sales. Which have very small margins and ran mostly by small businesses.

    Charge a mere 1% on automobiles, which commonly have pretty decent margins. Are a major purchase that many will accept higher taxes to buy.

    I’d like to see what taxes cities that have a great deal more invested in bicycle infrastructure such as Netherlands and Denmark.

    I’d also like to see taxes for driving that actually relate to more of the associated costs to all of us to have on the road.

    A tax to purchase a car in Copenhagen is 30%. As well as several environmental fees, road tax, etc.

    Why not at the very least drop the bike tax because it’s ridiculous, no civilized city would do this, and if they did there would be Cycle Tracks Galore not simple painted white lines on “some” streets in return.

    Bump the auto tax to 5% which would be a great deal more revenue and help pay for the costs of driving cars.

    The idea is to encourage less auto use by making bicycles as accessible, Safe, and cheap as possible.

    Autos are the “reason” we NEED protection and infrastructure in the first place. So, as a result, if you drive a car you help keep other vulnerable road users safe.

    Our auto fees are outrageously low. Why are they adding a tax on new bicycle sakles and not just bumping the fees to drive?

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    • David Hampsten May 10, 2017 at 3:52 am

      I don’t know if there are taxes specifically aimed at bicycle sales in the Netherlands and Denmark, but they do have a 16-21% Value Added Tax (VAT) on all goods, as in the rest of Europe. This is essentially a tax on the processing and manufacturing of goods, raw veggies having a lower tax from having less processing, to bikes and cars having a higher tax as manufactured finished goods. VAT goes into the general fund for most European countries. A sales tax is charged when you buy a good, whereas a VAT is charged each time a good changes hands and the value increases. Sales taxes are rare in Europe, VAT is more or less universal.

      I have met many Europeans who travel to the US specifically to go shopping because all things are so much cheaper here, even with a 5-8% sales tax, as we don’t have a VAT and our tariffs (tax on imports) is much lower. A few probably even go to the sales tax-free states to buy goods, but most of those states are a bit off the beaten path. The difference between the VAT and our sales tax and lack of import taxes is often enough to pay for the airline ticket and hotel stay when buying expensive goods. A “free” trip for those who can afford it.

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    • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Taxes may be low on cars, not sure what the total would be counting gas tax, license fees, smog test, recycling fees for parts, etc. But operation and ownership costs are already fairly high. A car is essential for most of us to get around. And taxes on cars hurt low income folks the most. Politicians understand what will happen to their political careers if they cause us too much pain.

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  • wsbob May 9, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    “…Sen. Beyer said the funds would be used to, “Take care of off-road commuter routes… As an alternative to get out of the way of trucks.” …” bikeportland

    It sounds as though Sen. Beyer made that statement, thinking considerately on behalf of people biking and having to deal with trucks on the road. Nice of him to think so.

    Much more, and better, infrastructure for walking and biking, needs to provided, though, and not just so people biking can “…get out of the way of trucks. …”, but more importantly, because the roads in more and more traffic situations outside of commute hours, in addition to during commute hours, are filled to capacity. Too many people do not have access to good, enjoyable to use walking and biking infrastructure that could for them, be an alternative to driving.

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  • SD May 10, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Single occupancy vehicle trips are congestion. Yet this legislation does little to nothing to increase access to alternatives to SOV trips.

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  • drew May 10, 2017 at 8:09 am

    As per the 2012 Grist article: driving a car costs society as a whole .20c per mile.
    Riding a bike is an economic gain to society of .42c per mile.
    Not a good idea to tax something that benefits all of us. Especially at 42c/mile.

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    • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Show us the calculation.

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      • Dan A May 11, 2017 at 6:23 am
        • Dan A May 11, 2017 at 6:27 am

          The original source is a cost-benefit analysis performed by Copenhagen, noted on page 18 here:

          http://www.cycling-embassy.dk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Bicycle-account-2010-Copenhagen.pdf

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          • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 3:34 pm

            Neither of those links showed the calculation. They showed the result of a calculation or study. I suspect the calculation would be tricky and subject to a lot of debate. But there would be little debate that eliminating benefits of the auto industry would decimate the economy:
            https://autoalliance.org/economy/

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        • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 2:51 pm

          Better be careful then. The government needs money. They may start forcing us all to ride bikes and collecting their 42 cents per mile. If they can force you to ride 1000 miles per month, that would provide $420 for them to spend. I think we’ve come up with the solution to our debt problems – everyone rides a bike 8 hours per day. 🙂

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        • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          No calculation included. It did show the results of “something”, a study perhaps, but I’d want to see the math.

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          • Dan A May 11, 2017 at 4:36 pm

            Yes, I’m aware. Perhaps you have a counter study to contribute?

            Why do I have the funny feeling you’ve been hanging around here before, with a different name……..

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            • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 9:09 pm

              Funny, that was what I was thinking too.

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            • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 1:22 am

              I have no counter study. A mathematical claim was made by drew above. I just want to see the details of the calculation.

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      • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 6:31 am

        Are you questioning the logic? I hope he produces the calculation too, but since you seem doubtful let me remind you of a project in Lillestrøm, Norway two years ago to *PAY* people who eschewed the car for their commutes:

        The Norwegian town of Lillestrøm went even further. For a week last July they paid people walking and bicycling—for eschewing the car and choosing a more environmentally salutary way of getting around. People on bikes got 12 euros, people walking 11 euros. The Norwegian ministry of health had calculated that the state saves six euro for every km walked and three euros for every km biked. Multiplied by the average length of a bike trip (4km) and distance walked (1.7km) yielded those figures.

        http://green.wiwo.de/alternatives-mautkonzept-stadt-zahlt-geld-wenn-man-sein-auto-stehen-laesst/

        mentioned here: https://bikeportland.org/2015/01/09/guest-column-portland-pay-streets-130772#comment-6103626

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        • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

          Yes, questioning the logic. Just want to see the math. It should include the negatives from loss of the automobile industry, right? https://autoalliance.org/economy/

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          • 9watts May 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

            “It should include the negatives from loss of the automobile industry, right?”

            Nope. I’m afraid we’re going to have to find a better way to parameterize that. Coal miners are people too, but we can’t hold the planet hostage to these folks who are engaged in an activity we as a species can no longer afford. And all of these problems suffer from positive feedback: The longer we dilly dally the harder it will be to extricate ourselves.

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            • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm

              Show us the calculation proving AGW. For simplicity, I’ll accept a calculation for any wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum you would like to use. Not saying it isn’t real, but I want to see the calculation. I’m not going to agree to forced massive changes to society based on calculations which can’t be shown.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

                The overwhelming balance of the data suggests it’s real. Mathematical proof rarely exists in the real world. It’s how science works. Pretending otherwise because you dislike the ramifications is still pretending.

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              • dwk May 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

                You won’t post “rude” comments, but you will post non stop non factual Trump like nonsense all day long…..

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm

                If you cannot show the calculation then you don’t know what you are saying is true. You “believe” it is true. There is equal evidence that it may not be true. That’s why there is debate about it.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm

                I really don’t care if you believe the science or not. I also wish it weren’t true. But if you want to challenge the scientific consensus, there are plenty of more appropriate forums in which to do so. Show the world your “equal evidence” and if you’re right, pack your bags for Sweden to collect your Nobel Prize.

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  • Gary B May 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

    There is plenty to complain about here. BUT, can we take a moment to soak this in:
    ““And no matter how much we build, we cannot build our way out of congestion… What we need to do and what’s been successful elsewhere is to congestion pricing.”

    We have a Republican lawmaker from suburban Oregon not just accepting, but advocating for congestion pricing. I mean, for many BP readers this may not be cutting-edge thinking, but I suspect the idea of congestion pricing is pretty far out there (i.e. unheard of) for the much of the population. I think this is a remarkable development that shows significant progress.

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    • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 9:37 am

      And yet, look at what he’s proposing we spend the money on. JM’s photo caption sums it up: “State Senator Brian Boquist knows we can’t build or tax our way out of congestion; but he wants to try it one more time.”

      “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

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      • Gary B May 10, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        No disagreement here. That falls squarely in the plenty to complain about. But still, I find it remarkable.

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  • Portlands Electric Bike Store
    Portlands Electric Bike Store May 10, 2017 at 10:32 am

    My understanding is that the gas tax is bringing in less revenue as folks are driving less and switching to more efficient / hybrid & electric cars. Does anyone know if the proposal includes a tax mechanism for electric cars?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

      the way they hope to address this is to increase title/registration fees for electric car owners to make up for lost gas tax revenue.

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    • 9watts May 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

      A whole barrel full of red herrings. Oh my.

      Cars are, by and large not more efficient than once upon a time, and efficiency isn’t the relevant metric anyway, but total fuel consumption. My guess is that total passenger vehicle/light truck fuel consumption has barely dipped in Oregon over the past decade or two.

      Electric cars. Miniscule fraction of the on road fleet. Not even worth discussing.

      What has happened is that the purchasing power of the non-indexed-to-inflation gas tax revenues has atrophied. This has nothing to do with the fleet and everything to do with how the rates are set. The asphalt price index would be the kind of thing to hitch the gas tax rate to, but we don’t do that here.

      Germany – I’ll say it again – takes in three times (3x) the amount of money it needs to build and maintain a world class multi modal transportation system from taxes and fees related to cars and trucks. Last time I checked it was around 54 billion euros, for a country not much larger than Oregon, though with a LOT more people and infrastructure.

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      • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

        Why do they take such a large percentage from cars and trucks? Are the other modes incapable of paying their fair share?

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        • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 6:26 am

          Well, see, they don’t see it as ‘such a large share.’ In fact the fees and taxes that the German federal government charged those who drive don’t even cover *all* the costs that automobility exacts on society. To pick up with the indirect costs, climate change is going to turn out to be such a large bill we won’t be able to pay it at all.

          “Why do they take such a large percentage from cars and trucks? Are the other modes incapable of paying their fair share?”

          Fair share? Can you explain? What would the fair share for walking or biking or skateboarding be, and what costs to society would that fair share be offsetting?

          Just curious.

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          • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm

            When you said car drivers pay for a multimodal system I figured that included rail, buses, etc. Those don’t appear for free out of thin air.

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            • 9watts May 12, 2017 at 9:16 am

              In Germany they do pay for those services with the (to us) stiff taxes, fees, and so on. But that is a far cry from the arrangement we have here as you would notice in five seconds after landing in Germany.

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            • David Hampsten May 12, 2017 at 11:27 pm

              The costs of producing gasoline and diesel fuel doesn’t vary much between places, for example between the US and Germany, but the price paid by consumers does vary by a huge amount, through gas taxes. Our total gas taxes are less than a dollar/gallon (federal + state + local), while the equivalent in Germany and most of Europe varies from $3 to $10 per gallon (naturally in the local currency such as the Euro per liter.) This generates a much higher revenue stream for governments. In addition, European governments spend much lower amounts for defense than in the US, freeing up funds for other uses. European are also more likely to spend non-fuel taxes (income, VAT) on infrastructure than we are.

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    • wsbob May 11, 2017 at 9:34 am

      If people really are driving less for travel, and this becomes a consistent trend for the future, whether or not they use motor vehicle power that isn’t powered by taxed gasoline and diesel, it seems as though there still will be budget shortfall for maintaining roads.

      Taxes and fees on electric vehicle use likely will only be able to go so far to make up the shortfall. People may be able to find ways of having lives that oblige them to drive less, but they still will need to be able buy basics like food, clothing, building and home repair materials. That’s freight. More use of the road for freight transport may be a consequence of increasing population and people personally using the road less to bring their own basics home from the stores. Higher fees for use of the road for freight transport, may be where the money will come from to maintain the roads. Transferred to consumers in the form of higher cost for basics.

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      • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 11:53 am

        This kind of hand wringing is just so silly.
        Do the Norwegians, the Germans, the Italians fret over the funding shortfalls due to people driving less or switching to EVs? Hm.

        Just raise the gas taxes and then raise them again.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm

          While I agree this is the solution, it has the implicit judgement that fuel use (and not road use) should be the proper mechanism for funding roads. I share that judgement (though would prefer a carbon tax to a gas tax), but others may not, and that may be why the solution is not as obvious as you make it sound.

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          • 9watts May 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm

            A carbon tax is a great elaboration on the timeworn concept of the gas tax. I’m all for it, but I’m not for the perfect being the enemy of the good and (as many here are wont to do) dismissing it or misunderstanding its potential. We already have it; it works the world over to accomplish lots of useful intermediate goals (penalize driving, raise funds, etc.).
            The prospects of a real gas tax averting climate change are pretty slim, but in this nutty country we can’t even seem to have a reasonable conversation about the fact of climate change so I hold out little short term hope that we’ll face the carbon tax or carbon fee and dividend* topics.

            * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee_and_dividend

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          • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 10:21 am

            I’d prefer to call it a gas tax. Everyone understands that the gas tax is used for roads. If you call it a carbon tax it becomes a political hot potato – 1/2 the people don’t think carbon is a problem, and the half who do can’t show the other half the calculation to prove that it is a problem; all they can do is say “That guy over there did the calc and I believe him so I’m going to make you change your lifestyle to save us from carbon.” No carbon tax.

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            • 9watts May 12, 2017 at 10:24 am

              “1/2 the people don’t think carbon is a problem, and the half who do can’t show the other half the calculation to prove that it is a problem”

              do you have anything to share here except right wing talking points?

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm

                Show us the calculation. Your side wants to force the rest of the world to disrupt the economy and way of life; so do us the courtesy of showing us why we should. Pick any single wavelength and show us the numbers. If you go to a “science” website such as real climate dot org where “scientists” comment on AGW you will notice after reading a very few comments that those “scientists” are very political and that they intensely dislike Mr. T. AGW may be real, but there is the distinct possibility that it is politically motivated and that is just one example showing the level of politicization of the issue.
                .
                Don’t worry. It isn’t going to be too many more decades before oil is expensive and it’s use for personal cars will dwindle – it may not be long – as soon as solar can charge a car at home for a reasonable price without subsidies, and as soon as the car can be recharged in 15 minutes same as a gas tank, and when battery replacement costs are reasonable, then electric car use will be dominant. Market forces at work.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

                Read any mainstream scientific journal. If you don’t like his characterization of the evidence, you can look for yourself, or even undertake your own research. Results are all published, and have been reviewed by lots of people who understand the physics more than any of us do. I know you’re skeptical, but it’s because you don’t like the ramifications of it being true. But your skepticism doesn’t change what’s happening.

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm

                HK,
                I’m totally open minded on it. Provide a link to an article showing that AGW is real with calculations showing how CO2 actually causes warming. The photon of xx wavelength, is emitted from the surface of the earth, and after traveling x meters, hits a CO2 molecule, which causes the CO2 molecule to emit a photon and x joules of energy…………etc.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 11:27 pm

                Publish your results where they can be properly reviewed. It sounds as if you know something the climate scientists overlooked.

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            • David Hampsten May 12, 2017 at 11:36 pm

              Only in Oregon are gas taxes required to be used for roads. In most US states and the federal government, gas taxes are thrown in with all other revenues. The US highway trust fund went bankrupt years ago and the feds have long used income taxes to shore up the deficit. In Chicago, gas taxes and parking fees are frequently used for housing the homeless. Here in NC, a recent gas tax increase was used partly to fund several new college buildings and fund minority scholarships – worthy, but hardly transportation-related.

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            • 9watts June 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm

              Here’s some interesting evidence that suggests you (Mr. FME) are all wet.

              https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/21/climate/how-americans-think-about-climate-change-in-six-maps.html

              In every congressional district, a majority of adults supports limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. But many Republicans in Congress (and some Democrats) agree with [45], who this week may move to kill an Obama administration plan that would have scaled back the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

              Nationally, about seven in 10 Americans support regulating carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants — and 75 percent support regulating CO2 as a pollutant more generally. But lawmakers are unlikely to change direction soon.

              This speaks to a long running conversation we’ve had here on bikeportland about the extent to which our representatives (ODOT, elected officials) actually act on the priorities of their constituents, or do not. Wspob and Hello.Kitty have generally argued they do, while I don’t see much evidence for this.

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              • Kevin Love June 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

                So why would people vote for politicians that do not reflect their priorities? Oh yes, big money donors buy advertising to spin the issues. Thank you Koch Brothers, et al, for perverting American democracy.

                I am just so proud to be an American citizen. We have the best politicians money can buy.

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  • Portlands Electric Bike Store
    Portlands Electric Bike Store May 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

    It also seems to me that a large percentage of road damage is caused by studded tires. I hope there is a provision for taxing them into oblivion!

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    • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      I’d be satisfied if they just charged a nominal fee to cover the damage – say 25 or 50 dollars when you get a set of studded tires.

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      • Dan A May 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm

        Is that per day of driving?

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    • rick May 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      quadruple yes !

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  • Free Market Economist May 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    If you continue to elect people who cannot figure out how to cut spending by eliminating waste, then they will continue to tax you more and more. How many of us think we could not find significant areas of the state budget that could be cut or eliminated? I think a 10% cut would not even take much effort.

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    • Alex May 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      If you think that cutting 10% from the state budget would be easy, then give it a shot. Here is the state budget:

      https://www.oregon.gov/transparency/Pages/state_budget.aspx#State_Budget:_2011_-_2013

      Tell us what you’d cut. I for one think that the state budget is far too thin and that people who think it would be easy to cut a government budget have probably never read one.

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      • Free Market Economist May 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

        10% across the board cut. Let agency managers figure out how to do it as long as they do it with the intent on impacting services as little as possible.

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        • Dan A May 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm

          I’m unsurprised at your lack of effort.

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          • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 1:18 am

            My recommendation would accomplish the task RIGHT NOW. That’s probably what surprised you.

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            • Dan A May 12, 2017 at 9:40 pm

              I am unsurprised by your reading comprehension skills.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm

          Sigh… every second rate politician makes the same 10% claim. I’ve worked in government at multiple levels, and in a variety of large private corporations, and government is about par for any large organization.

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          • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 1:15 am

            Nope. Government rarely, if ever, cleans house. In private industry house cleaning with big reductions in force are common. They get rid of the dead wood during those times. Huge difference. Lots more as well.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 9:47 am

              I’m guessing you’ve never worked at a big company. Some may get rid of wood from time to time, but they are rarely good at distinguishing dead from living. If they were, why would they wait for a layoff to get rid of the dead wood?

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              • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

                Because even the dead wood can be used when times are good. They can usually find a task even deadwood can do. But when times get lean, and people are having trouble staying billable, the deadwood must be cut. Yes, I have worked at large companies. And in some large companies it should happen more frequently, but in smaller companies it is frequent in most cases.

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      • wsbob May 11, 2017 at 5:19 pm

        “…Tell us what you’d cut. I for one think that the state budget is far too thin and that people who think it would be easy to cut a government budget have probably never read one.” alex

        Excellent challenge. In the area of school budgeting, some people feel that too much money is spent on things they feel are non-essential to education, like carpeting for floors when something simpler would save money and not interfere with people getting an education. A favorite subject for budget reduction, is PERS. I’ve always felt it worthwhile to pay public employees well to receive good service in return, but maybe the public employee retirement system has become too much of a good thing.

        I’ve never heard it claimed that Oregon’s dept of fish and wildlife has too much fat. Or the parks system. Welfare and food stamps are another favorite subject for budget reduction. Too many bad anecdotes have gone around about how some people abuse those programs.

        Not to sound smart alecky, but some people in Oregon’s big cities maybe don’t understand quite how strapped people in the rest of the state’s communities are. There’s poor people in the cities, obviously, but there’s lots of money going into things like infrastructure too. What do the rural counties get? Maybe an occasional visit to the big city to see what their taxes are helping to pay for. I can certainly understand why there may be a lot of people in rural Oregon, and perhaps Oregon conservatives in general, that might feel a bike tax is long due in coming.

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  • Tax the poor to increase pollution! May 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    This is the most environmentally destructive, regressive legislation ever proposed in Oregon. Billions of dollars to promote more cars stuck on freeways spewing out carbon to ramp up global warming. Billions from regressive taxes with flat or per person rates that will impact the poor the hardest. Taxing bikes and electric cars at rates far higher than gas guzzling SUVs or massive trucks. Oregon Democrats have gone Trump. Barf.

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    • rick May 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Well, Hillary did vote to bail out the auto industry.

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      • matt picio May 11, 2017 at 11:05 am

        To be fair, almost everyone bailed out the auto industry – hard to pin that one on Hillary.

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  • Andrea Capp May 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Is there anyone we should be sending emails to?

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  • Tom M May 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Great, tax new bike sales. This will create more demand for stolen bikes. Joy.

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    • GlowBoy May 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Another great argument for my reverse tax on new bicycles. Would definitely reduce the demand for stolen ones.

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  • OrigJF May 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Implementing a tax on a form of transportation known to reduce congestion (aka riding a bicycle) seems flawed. If the goal is to get people to utilize the existing and proposed bicycle routes to reduce congestion on roadways, then the incentive should be to get people out of motor vehicles and onto bicycles.

    If someone currently owns a motor vehicle, but not a bicycle, the new bicycle tax is a disincentive to purchase a new bicycle. Therefore, the person would continue to use the form of transportation they currently utilize instead of branching out to try other means to get from point A to point B.

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    • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Maybe enough noise has come from cyclists demanding more infrastructure that they’ve proposed the bike tax to get more money for the demanded infrastructure; hoping that since cyclists are paying for it the car drivers can’t object to it.

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      • 9watts May 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

        OK let me ask you this – if not for the danger of cars what would be the need for so-called bike infrastructure? Which aspects of it are *not* defensive in nature?

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        • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

          I think, off top of my head, that the need for bike infrastructure is mostly due to the dangers from cars. The streets were designed for horses and motor vehicles. There is limited room for a separate system for bikes – thus the friction between the 2 sides.

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          • Dan A May 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

            “The streets were designed for horses and motor vehicles.”

            There’s something wrong about your statement. See if you can guess what.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

              Looks like someone forgot about oxcarts!

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            • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 7:32 pm

              Looks like HK beat me to it!

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            • David Hampsten May 12, 2017 at 11:39 pm

              People?

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  • Kenny May 11, 2017 at 10:07 am

    So, if your car does less environmental harm, pollutes less..
    pay MORE?!?!

    If you do not even contribute to these problems by Cycling, you need to be pretty much Charged a Fee for making that choice? Kind of like a Fine.

    Yeah, we’re definitely falling apart.

    I thought we were ass backwards in terms of taxing the wealthy, not universally funding healthcare, education, daycare for children..

    Then for a drop in the bucket of 12 million in taxes generated from local bike shops selling $400-600 average bikes.. a Program is instituted, which will cost $ to Run.

    But these policies are right up there in their obtuse nature.

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    • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Where does the money come from for “universally funded” healthcare?
      I believe we do have essentially “universal” funding for education – via property taxes. Now we have HS grads who can’t read, write, do math, understand history, civics, etc.
      Having said all that, I would not target only bikes for a tax – unless as I explained above the idea is to collect money specifically for bike infrastructure.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

        The cost of healthcare is the same regardless of whether it’s universal or every-person-for-themselves (unless you cut some people off). So it’s really a question of how costs are distributed.

        I suspect overall costs would be lower if there were fewer parties taking a cut along the way.

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        • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm

          Does Canada have health insurance companies or does the government pay the providers directly? However it works, and there are other countries with socialized medicine, it is not uncommon for people to come to the US for an advanced treatment. Not sure if it’s because it isn’t available in their country or if it’s because of shorter wait times.
          Undoubtedly, many of the life-saving machines used in medicine were invented by private industry because of the profit motive. And if they can mass produce them, then that lowers the cost.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm

            Great! I look forward to the mass-produced lower cost health care that will be coming soon! The fact is that many countries spend less on their healthcare and get better results. Our experience to date shows that having insurance companies run the show does not work very well.

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            • Free Market Economist May 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm

              Not exactly. Experience shows that when government sticks their finger in the works, costs go up. If student loans are given and/or guaranteed by the government, what is likely to happen to costs? Up. If housing loans are given and/or guaranteed by a government entity, and building permits are issued by a government, what happens to housing prices? Up. If government mandates everyone buy a product like health insurance and mandates all kinds of coverage that most will never need what happens to the price? Up. If government mandates that banks give loans to anyone with a pulse at near 0 percent rates, what happens? 2008/2009. If government employees are allowed to vote for their own benefits and pensions what happens? 1.8 billion in the hole.

              I think there is a pattern here. Who can spot it?

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              • Alex Reedin May 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

                If private industry can skimp on health, safety, and sanitation in an opaque enough marketplace to not be punished by consumers without sufficient government regulation (e.g. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle), what happens to food-borne illnesses? Up! If private industry has sufficient asymmetrical power in an employer-employee relationship without sufficient government regulation (typically with low-wage workers), guess what happens to the number of hours worked that are unpaid and the number of on-the-job injuries and deaths? Up! If private industry and the wealthy have the ability to fund politicians’ election campaigns, guess what happens to the number of tax loopholes and government policies that benefit those politically-connected private industry and wealthy folks? They go up!

                Seems like there might be room for a little nuance rather than government regulation=bad and deregulation=good, like maybe well-thought-out government regulation aimed at the greater good while balancing costs and benefits is good, while insufficient or badly implemented or excessive government regulation is bad. Just maybe.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

                The common thread there is that you like oversimplification.

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  • dwk May 12, 2017 at 11:08 am

    “I believe we do have essentially “universal” funding for education – via property taxes. Now we have HS grads who can’t read, write, do math, understand history, civics, etc.”

    We also have people who think we can simply cut 10% form any budget….

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    • Free Market Economist May 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      So, once a government program is started it should live forever; and government can’t reduce waste; and all government programs are needed, right?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 12, 2017 at 11:22 pm

        Who’s claiming that?

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      • David Hampsten May 12, 2017 at 11:46 pm

        Wasn’t that Wagner who said it first, back in the 1800s?

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    • David Hampsten May 12, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      In Oregon, mill levees (school district property taxes) pay for school infrastructure bonds; teachers, building maintenance, etc are paid for through your state income tax. Local city property tax revenue rarely go to schools in Oregon.

      Other states do it differently.

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