bicycle excise tax

It has begun: Oregon-inspired tax on bicycles spreads to Colorado

by on July 19th, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Ugh.

After learning about Oregon’s new tax on bicycles, a lawmaker from Colorado says he wants to do the same thing.

ColoradoPolitics.com has reported that “influential” Republican Ray Scott (Grand Junction) wants to introduce his own bike tax bill.

“We will be proposing something similar. They use the roads also,” Scott reportedly posted on his Facebook page after reading a story about the tax in the Washington Times.

As part of his rationale, Scott says other types of vehicles pay a tax so it’s an issue of fairness. “If we’re not going to tax bicycles, then let’s not tax boats, ATVs and every other vehicle out there that already pay all these taxes… how many rights do we give to cyclists that we don’t give to everybody else on the road? I’m asking.” When someone reminded him that bicycles don’t damage the roads, Scott replied, “Snowmobiles don’t hurt the snow, ATV’s don’t hurt the dirt, boats don’t hurt the water and they pay a tax, maybe we should eliminate those taxes.”

So here we go.
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Bike tax a big moment for cycling movement says Oregon Congressman Blumenauer

by on July 13th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Congressional Reception-10

“It’s an acknowledgment of the power of the cycling community.”
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The face of bicycling in Oregon isn’t that mad about our state’s new, $15 tax on new bicycles.

U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who served six years in the Oregon House of Representatives and nearly 10 years as a Portland city commissioner, shared via a phone interview yesterday that he feels the tax is a “modest fee” that isn’t that big of a deal when viewed in the light of the overall infrastructure funding package.

I caught up with Blumenauer from his office in Washington D.C. where he’s standing against strong political winds.

“I think this is a really great opportunity for the cycling community to take a step back and think about the bigger picture,” he said.

Blumenauer probably knows more about the “bigger picture” than anyone in the bike advocacy game. He has fought for bicycle-related transportation funding for about 40 years. During that time he’s heard all the anti-bike arguments you can imagine.

“One of the arguments we hear repeatedly is that cyclists don’t have any skin in the game… so there’s been blowback.” Blumenauer thinks the “cyclists don’t pay” argument has only gotten louder as more money has gone to bike projects. During his tenure in politics, Blumenauer has seen Oregon implement the pioneering 1971 “Bicycle Bill” which sets aside 1 percent of all the state’s highway gas tax money for biking and walking infrastructure (which should equal about $3.7 million per year over ten years in the new bill. And federal programs like Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and TIGER grants have funded billions in bike infrastructure. “That’s big money,” he said.
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It’s official: Oregon now has a $15 bike tax

by on July 6th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Read it and weep. Or rejoice, if you think it’s a great idea.

With passage in the Senate today, Oregon’s transportation bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for signing.

We’ve got lots more coverage planned, but there’s one thing that I felt should be singled out. Take a deep breath and consider this: Oregon is now the only state in America with a bicycle excise tax.
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Lawmakers likely to tweak bicycle tax in response to opposition

by on June 9th, 2017 at 9:43 am

Among a host of tweaks expected to Oregon’s transportation funding package is very likely to include a major change to the controversial bicycle excise tax.

Instead of 3 percent excise tax on all new bikes (with some exceptions), it’s likely to become a $15 flat fee.

In a meeting of the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee at the capitol last night, Co-Chair Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) said he and other legislators have heard concerns about the tax from bicycle dealers. As we reported last week, the current proposal is a 3 percent tax on the purchase of new bicycles. That idea faced strong opposition from shop owners who fear the tax will drive sales toward online and big-box retailers, create onerous new reporting requirements, and put a black cloud over bicycling in Oregon.
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Bike industry leaders oppose bike tax proposal amid push for alternatives

by on May 15th, 2017 at 2:03 pm

North Portland Bikeworks new location-2-1

(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Right now in Salem, lawmakers are drafting a statewide transportation funding package that aims to raise over $8 billion. As we reported last week, one small piece of that new revenue — an estimated $2 million a year — would come from a 5 percent tax on the purchase of new bicycles.

The tax would add $35 to the average price of a new bike purchased at a bike shop. It would be an unprecented step for Oregon and the only tax of its kind in America.

Not surprisingly, bike shop owners throughout Oregon are very concerned.[Read more…]

The latest on Oregon’s bike tax proposal from Street Trust policy director Gerik Kransky

by on May 12th, 2017 at 11:33 am

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s an advocacy group to do when they strongly oppose a policy idea, but are cognizant of the broader political context that surrounds it? It’s a complicated question that often has no easy answer.
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Oregon transportation funding proposal includes 5% tax on new bicycles

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.” [Read more…]

State eyes $131 million per year in new active transportation and safety funding

by on March 23rd, 2017 at 2:44 pm

State Senator Lee Beyer during his presentation to the Joint Committee yesterday.

After months of speculation, legislators are finally sharing proposals that will eventually make up the statewide transportation funding bill.

Yesterday during a meeting of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization, State Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) laid out a proposal that would raise an additional $131 million a year for bicycling, walking, transit and street safety projects statewide.

Sen. Beyer, who led the workgroup and is co-chair of the committee, broke up the proposal into four sections: transit, safe routes to school, safety projects, and off-highway paths.

Here’s how it all breaks down.

Transit – $107 million a year

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A bike excise tax, losing the Lottery, and more Safe Routes: Our look at state transportation funding package

by on March 3rd, 2017 at 2:41 pm

The state capitol building in Salem.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

By the end of this month Oregonians will have their first look at what state lawmakers and interest groups have cooked up for a transportation package.

I’ve followed the progress and have noticed several key themes worthy of your attention. Here’s my best take on what’s going on.

But first, let’s start with an overview of how the package is being developed:

How the sausage is being made

The package is being drafted by the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization — a 14-member body with eight Democrats and six Republicans that represent districts throughout Oregon. They’ve met five times since February 1st. Their meetings are usually less than 30 minutes long because the real work is being done in four work groups. These groups have been assigned to focus on specific topics. Here are the names of the groups and the committee members assigned to each of them:

Congestion Work Group:
– Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas)
– Rep. Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland)
– Rep. Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro)
– Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose)

Public Transit/Bike/Ped/Safety Work Group:
– Sen. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield)
– Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland)
– Sen. Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie)
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Report reignites talk of bike excise tax – but advocates aren’t howling

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 29th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

North Portland Bikeworks new location-11-10

Would you like tax with that? Maybe you would, actually.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today’s Portland City Club report that gave a big bear hug to biking also said buyers of new bikes should pay a special tax: 4 percent on each new bike purchase in Oregon, or $20 for a $500 bike.

The report recommended that the money — it’d be about $840,000 annually for the State of Oregon — go to programs that support and educate road users about bikes.

The city’s bicycle advocates aren’t exactly thrilled. But perhaps surprisingly, they aren’t gasping in horror, either.

“Generally speaking, the BTA is opposed to any new barrier between people and biking,” Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocacy director Gerik Kransky said today. “That being said, we’re open to the conversation. … It looks like their ideas about how to spend the money are pointed in the right direction.”

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