I would like to know if someone at The Stranger is working on an article about the $25 bicycle tax that is being proposed by Representative Judy Clibborn. If possible I would like to talk to the person that is writing that article and if not I would like to talk to a reporter who would consider writing such an article. I read the SLOG post by Dominic Holden on the subject and while it addresses some aspects of what this tax would do there are some more specifics that I think are important.
As the owner of a local bicycle shop this proposal concerns me greatly.
My main points of objection are:
1. That it is based on the false premise that the roads, highways and bridges are paid for primarily by gas and motor vehicle taxes. My research has found that the majority of the cost is borne by the general fund that all taxpayers contribute to. If we drove cars instead of bikes it would cost taxpayers more, not less.
2. The tax would be due only on sales from local bicycle stores. People buying bicycles from out of state who are already not paying our 9.5% sales tax would not have to pay this tax either. On a $500 bike this would amount to a total of about 14.5% in taxes that we would have to charge.
Two more reasons from Montlake Bicycle shop owner Neil Wechsler after the jump.
3. When you raise the price of a product sales are certain to go down. Some people will find an untaxed out of state source, some will buy a lower quality bicycle, and some will not buy a bike at all. That will end up meaning less employment in bike shops in our state. (In the last campaign it seemed like every candidate was running on a pro-jobs platform, but actions speak louder than words.)
4. That the tax, which is projected to bring in only $100,000 in revenue per year may well cost the state more than that amount. Creating, collecting, and enforcing another tax don’t happen for free. If you include that some sales would be driven out of state the lost sales tax revenue would pretty much assure that the fee would end up costing the state money. To create the burden of a new tax that earns nothing for the state would be an insult to its citizens.