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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lawmaker Disagrees With Her Own Bicycle Tax

Posted by on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Washington State representative Judy Clibborn said in a phone interview today that inserting a tax on bicycles into a $10 billion state revenue package for transportation, which mostly funds freeways, "was my idea." But when asked if she supports that bicycle tax she repeated: "I don't. I don't."

So why put it in there?

After all, "The package almost completely ignores bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure," notes Craig Benjamin, the political manager of the Cascade Bicycle Club. "Given the benefits people on bicycles provide to the rest of the transportation system by taking cars off the road, this is short-sighted."

But slapping a $25 excise on bicycles over $500 will appease Republican legislators who typically "grouse" about funding transportation packages that include a little money for bike trails and transit, said Clibborn, a Democrat from suburban Seattle who chairs the state House's transportation committee. "They always say—and I don't agree—that [cyclists] are not paying for anything." Clibborn argues that many bicycle riders have cars too, they pay gas taxes, and everyone ends up shouldering the expense of state roads. Still, the token tax, which would raise only about $1 million, changed perceptions of the revenue proposal among her colleagues. "So whether I agree with it or not," she said, it garnered support, "and when I showed the bike people, they didn't tell me to take it out."

But the bike people don't like it one bit. This afternoon Benjamin said the bicycle tax "would harm hard-working small business owners. Most such bikes are sold by small family-owned bike shops and this would impose red tape and costs for them while creating virtually no revenue."

Benjamin continues, "Were such a tax partnered with a package that invested significantly in making neighborhoods that are safe for our kids, we might be able to live with it."

That said, a minute fraction of this $10 billion package would help out cyclists; for instance, some transportation money goes to projects like freeway flyovers that cyclists could use, Clibborn says. And $60 million for Complete Streets grants would help road construction that includes bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and other infrastructure.

The transportation revenue package would also raise $700 million for transit, Clibborn explains, funded by a 0.7 percent vehicle excise tax. The package also taxes hazardous chemicals and freight vehicles. It would require a two-thirds majority of the legislature, according to rules established by Tim Eyman initiatives, and Governor Jay Inslee has said recently that he would make an exception to his no-new-tax pledge for transportation.

Coming back to bicycles: Clibborn, for her part, seems skeptical that this bicycle tax will survive the political meat grinder. "I am not wedded to it," she says. "I have my doubts [it will be adopted by the legislature] because it doesn't seem to be much of player. But I haven't had anyone ask me to take it out. Now, if you write this, I will probably get a bunch of requests."

 

Comments (43) RSS

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43
Sales tax on a car is capped at $300

Nice attempt at yet another bike nazi lie!
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM · Report this
42
@18 No, you wouldn't. Sales tax on a car is capped at $300, while tax on bicycles is not. And if all of the cyclists on the road decided to take buses, they would add more buses, further increasing congestion. If they ride on the sidewalk at any reasonable speed, then they seriously endanger pedestrians and cause much more harm than good. Seeing as it's relatively easy to ride a bike at an average speed above 15-20mph, it simply doesn't make sense to further crowd sidewalks.
Bike owners pay taxes that subsequently pay for the roads and other infrastructure. You don't pay enough sales tax on your car, I pay sales tax for my bike, especially if it's more expensive. This tax also wouldn't even go to bike infrastructure, so it's just stupid to have bikes subsidizing the laziness of drivers. I don't owe you any favors, but I'm doing the government and the general public a favor by riding my bicycle.
Posted by wavecross on February 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM · Report this
41
A legislator who refuses to compromise, who won't add provisions to a bill to make it palatable to the opposition, who is so dogmatic that she/he would rather forego a bill rather than throw a bone or two to the other side, will inevitably be ineffective.

It's not about dogma. It's about getting something done. (And then you complain about Congress accomplishing nothing...)
Posted by bigyaz on February 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
40
#36, so do I.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
39
#30, for the same reason that my property taxes fund bike lane construction, even though I don't ride a bike.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 38
@35- Why on earth would it do that?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on February 21, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 37
@34- That's the bottom level price point of a non-toy store bike. If you actually intend to use your bike as a means of transport, you want to pay that's close to the minimum you want to spend.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on February 21, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 36
I look forward in riding on the freeways on my bicycle.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 21, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
GeneStoner 35
Taxes modify behavior.

Hopefully the tax will modify the behavior of the bike Nazis to STFU about "one more car off the road and the world will be better."
Posted by GeneStoner on February 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM · Report this
badstone 34
I would call a bicycle costing more than $500 a luxury good. Tax away.
Posted by badstone on February 21, 2013 at 8:33 AM · Report this
33
"to pay for each car owner's carbon offsets"

Even if your car is your primary resident?

"water runoff cleanup, payment to the thousands of family members of people killed by cars every year, plus their funeral expenses, and programs to mitigate the tens if thousands of pets and wildlife killed, and to replace the environment destroyed by car sprawl. "

How about a tax for all the good paying auto worker jobs you don't create?

Be careful, your hate is showing.
Posted by Car Bum on February 21, 2013 at 6:15 AM · Report this
32
It would be nice if we could all take a little different approach at this and consider the entire transportation system. Is there a way to stop bashing cyclists and stop bashing motorists. All of these people are our neighbors. We all need to get where we need to go via some form of transportation. Some have children and schedules that don't allow bikes or buses. Some of us can ride bikes because we have time, showers, or jobs that allow that mode. We need to respect each other and do our best to improve the whole system. We all need to spend a little more time and effort to understand each other's needs. We all benefit from all of the transportation system upgrades and maintenance. Whether the improvement is for safety, freight movement, transit, or bicycles and pedestrians.
Posted by Tri4Fun on February 21, 2013 at 5:25 AM · Report this
31
@30 word!

No, I'll bet Clibborn wishes she didn't have to show her hand so quickly. In doing so, those eastern Republicans might smell the double cross in her tactics.

That said, there is nowhere near enough transit dollars in this one. It raises $10 billion while only giving 7% to non transit and non-motorized? That's nuts and even less than they gave when McGinn thrashed a plan that was even better for transit back in 2008.

This should be interesting? As for my opinion, they aren't calling for a registration or licensing regimen on bikes so no sweat $25 bucks on new bikes could easily have been $25 on bike parts on each sale. I'm sure that it won't affect online sales either. This thing won't even be felt.

Now let's fix the transit problem in the bill!
Posted by Why are there cars? on February 21, 2013 at 12:14 AM · Report this
Free Lunch 30
Why should a tax on bicycles fund freeways? Freeways are one of the few places bicycles cannot legally ride.

It's like taxing wheelchairs and spending it on stairway construction.
Posted by Free Lunch on February 20, 2013 at 11:28 PM · Report this
raku 29
I'm fine with a bike tax to pay for some crappy bike trails along freeways in the suburbs. But we should also add some car taxes, to pay for each car owner's carbon offsets, clean air offsets, water runoff cleanup, payment to the thousands of family members of people killed by cars every year, plus their funeral expenses, and programs to mitigate the tens if thousands of pets and wildlife killed, and to replace the environment destroyed by car sprawl. Plus a small "fuck you" tax to make it easy to understand.
Posted by raku on February 20, 2013 at 11:21 PM · Report this
28
Re: freeway flyovers- the onus of providing access across the freeway belongs to the folks who want the freeway at all.
Posted by Joseph on February 20, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 27

Speaking of Cascade, I posted a forum thread trying to find out if anyone has been fined under the Vulnerable User Bill (fines can be levied up to $5000).

http://www.cascade.org/Community/forum/m…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 20, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 26
11, you should use a bike for errands & commuting. Then you'd understand where your argument fails.

The long & short of it is that the entire concept of traffic is based on the car. Infrastructure, the laws, the attitudes are there to accommodate automobiles. You can rant all you like about those damn kids, but nothing will change until bicycles are assumed to have an equal presence in traffic. They require their own dedicated lanes and their own set of rules, so they can interact safely w/ both pedestrians and cars.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 20, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
25
#15 I tried to win the Powerball last month, but no luck! So if I buy the farm while on my bike, no estate tax! Oh well.
, I tried!
Posted by pat L on February 20, 2013 at 7:47 PM · Report this
24
@22 If Clibborn is such a dinosaur, why was she a "House Champion" in the Cascade Bicycle Club's own 2012 Legislative Scorecard?

http://cascade.org/advocacy/pdf/leg-scor…
Posted by big l on February 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 23
A map of all high priced bums who won't pay property tax, state by state:

http://taxfoundation.org/article/map-pro…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 20, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
22
Meanwhile, Rep. Clibborn is still wedded to a stupid, antiquated gas tax and stubbornly refusing to make any progress towards a forward-thinking charge for Vehicle Miles Traveled.

Judy Clibborn is another transportation dinosaur that need to go the way of her old pal Mary Margaret Haugen.
Posted by SuperSteve on February 20, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
21
How about requiring cyclists over 18 to have insurance to ride on our roads?
Posted by Call it "equity" on February 20, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20
Attention all deadbeats.

If you want stuff pay for it..with property tax.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
19
If I buy a $50,000 car, won't I have already paid a large amount of sales tax?
Posted by Make it an annual bike tax on February 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 18
@14 if I buy a car, won't I have paid a large amount of sales tax?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 17
Clibborn, thanks for proposing a regressive tax package!

You're part of the problem.

Sure, some of the things are ok, like .7% of a car's value. But, that's still a lot. That's a $35 increase on a $5000 car. For a $15000 car, that's an extra $105. Seriously, that's a big increase.

Also, who's to declare what the value of a car is? Does it have to get assessed? Will the car's history come into play?

And gas tax as well as a flat fee for bikes? Yay regression.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on February 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this
McBomber 16
"Given the benefits people on bicycles provide to the rest of the transportation system by taking cars off the road, this is short-sighted."
I fully support people choosing to get around by bike, and those people given reasonably safe lanes to do so, but this quote irks me. If the goal is fewer cars, try using already built sidewalks and/or take a seat on a bus. Please don't tell me you're doing us all a favor by bicycling.
Posted by McBomber on February 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Clara T 15
look the majority of cyclist are going to be killed by cars eventually anyway, so why not just wait for the estate tax dollars to start "rolling" in?
Posted by Clara T on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
14
If I buy a $500 bicycle, won't I have already paid a large amount of sales tax?
Posted by Blinky Stallion on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
13
I disagree with the bike tax too. It's not high enough. Someone with a motor scooter pays $85 a year to use the streets. That's what bicycles should pay.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 20, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 12
@6: when you see the word "tax", does your brain freeze up and you can't read anything after that?
Posted by Max Solomon on February 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Kinison 11
Like every other freaking vehicle that uses the road, bikes totally need to start registering their vehicles. If anything, for the public safety as they should never be immune to red light cameras, but are. Charge them the same fee's as mopeds and scooters and require liability insurance.

You have the right to use the road, now comes some of that responsibility.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on February 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM · Report this
10
"would harm hard-working small business owners. Most such bikes are sold by small family-owned bike shops and this would impose red tape and costs for them while creating virtually no revenue."

When has that EVER stopped a Seattle liberal? When?
Posted by Sugartit on February 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 9
So somehow her bill that she wrote is the fault of republicans?
That is a bit of a strech.

Kinda like how Sen. Adam Kline "didn't read" the SENATE BILL 5737 which calls for random searches of the homes of gun owners.

We need to hold our politicians to a higher level of accountability; at the very least they should read and agree with the laws that they propose.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 20, 2013 at 6:33 PM · Report this
curtisp 8
A bicycle tax is downright stupid. On less car on the road is one less car crowding the road. I live in the city one block from a major bike lane. No they DON'T get in the way. The cars in front of me do. The cars parking in crowded neighborhoods are seriously in the way. As a driver I cannot figure out why people hate cyclists so much. Minivans, now they are a nuisance. What they hell is wrong with people who drive those things. They all need a stupid tax.
Posted by curtisp on February 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 7
@4) To say that Complete Streets money goes entirely to bicycles and pedestrians is wrong. The grants pay for lots and lots of stuff that has nothing to do with bicycles.
Posted by Dominic Holden on February 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 6
Thieving Democrats will stop at nothing to tax while delivering zero benefit in return.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 20, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 5
@1-3) I meant "gay" in the pejorative! Fixed...
Posted by Dominic Holden on February 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
4
So there will be $60 million for bike lanes and sidewalks, and bicyclists will be asked to pay for only 1/60th of that? And bicycle advocates aren't jumping for joy? If people let the perfect be the enemy of the good, there'll be no package passed and they'll get zero dollars. Congrats on continuing to be one of the most short-sighted and self-obsessed interest groups, bicycle advocates!
Posted by c'mon girlfriend on February 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
3

Clibborn argues that many bicycle riders have cars too, they pay gay taxes, and everyone ends up shouldering the expense of state roads.


I don't even.
Posted by robotslave on February 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM · Report this
2
Your Freudian slip is showing
Posted by ian on February 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM · Report this
1
Talk about a Freudian slip!
Posted by ian on February 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM · Report this

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