An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

'Cause I'm the Tax Man...

The Beattles were prophetic, it seems.

It's like the US Postal Service raising the price of stamps because people aren't sending as many letters any more.

In spite of Washington State existing at the top tier of gasoline taxes, transportation revenues aren't high enough. So there's a plan in the Washington House of Representatives to impose a $25 tax on all bicycle sales over $500.

Yeah, this makes sense. Because bicycles are impacting the need for road construction so much...

But I guess it DOES make sense in the goverment-can-do-what-it-damn-well-pleases world of economics, just like the USPS. Average gas mileage of vehicles on the road is going up, so gas consumption (and thus the taxes it generates) is going down. The thronging masses (yeah, right) turning to pedal power as an alternative to fossil fuel have got the state coffers in a gasping state of death throes...

Um, in Pierce County, there's an annual phenomenon every September where massive numbers of new road construction projects (usually in the form of chip-sealing perfectly smooth roads) are undertaken. Why? To drain the budgets. If you don't USE it this year, you won't GET IT next year.

Seriously. I've talked to the people inside the process. It's sad.

And this is the process that apparently needs more money.

But who knows, maybe this will turn out to be a good thing [AHEM].

Maybe all the money generated will go towards improving the existing roads to construct bike lanes. Or at the least, a 3-4 foot maintained shoulder.

And maybe, since we're now all paying taxes that go directly to roads, we'll get respect from motorists. I can't tell you the number of times I've been told by motorists that I don't belong on the roads because I don't pay for them. [Ignoring the fact that, yes, I do have a car, and my PROPERTY taxes go to these same funds as well.] Heck, if $25 would get that kind of respect on the road, I'd pay it several times over.

One can dream, I guess.

But I do worry about the affect on the bicycle industry. Especially at the local-bike-shop level. People that walk through the doors are already trying to price compare on Wal-Mart pieces of crap. Is the new glass ceiling for bikes now going to be $500? Will all sales over that amount shrivel up and blow away?

My mind is already reeling with the possibilities to circumvent this ill-conceived plan.

* Does this apply to bicycles bought out-of-state, like online sales? Again, this will be a hit to the local bike shop. And since there's no registry required on bicycles in this state, how will they (Big Brother Government) know?

* Will this apply to incomplete bicycles? If I sell a $490 frame, fork, headset, etc. (everything except the wheels), and a $200 set of wheels (as separate sales) and show the customer how to complete the assembly, does this count?

* And also since there is no registry in Washington, how about private-party sales?

I think a better solution would be to tax the heck out of studded tires.

And to think they're ALSO considering backing down the taxes on cigarettes...

I don't have to GO there to know that there won't be any bikes parked in the House of Representatives parking lot... But I'll probably trip over the ash trays.

If you take a ride,

I'll tax the street.
If you take a walk,
I'll tax your feet...

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