Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taxing argument

'Dumb criminal' stories tend to litter the pages of the daily newspapers, but on those publications' websites the most popular subject is, I submit to you, the bashing of bicyclists.

Today brought two such letters in the Seattle Times, one typical and one not.
...Automobile registration, and a license to drive one, does not also qualify a person to drive a semi-truck, school bus, motor coach, motorcycle -- or a bicycle -- on public streets. That’s the favorite ploy of freebie bike advocates to suggest that taxes paid for operating a motor vehicle provides a free pass for pedaling around on a motorless vehicle as well... Ride a bike -- ante up! Dean Trier, Redmond
Tired. Old. Old and tired. What costs of biking would be paid by registration? Testing, operator licensing, license plating, taxation? No? Trier & ilk used to say bikers should pay directly for roads -- except bikes aren't anywhere near a major cause of wear & tear. And anyway, bikers who drive (99%?) already pay for streets under the existing system -- Trier would double-tax bikers.

Nowadays the Make Bikers Pay bunch argue cyclists should be taxed for all the new bike lanes and paths. Except in Seattle such costs are covered by levy -- i.e., that is how voters decided they want to pay for those projects.

The other letter seems more reasonable:
...I have no problem with the idea of paying my fair share of the use of our roads by paying a bike tax. I think $20 is a fair, annual fee. My bike weighs about 20 pounds, so that's about a dollar per pound per year for using the roads. Not a problem for me. Ira Seigel, Bainbridge Island
"A dollar per pound." Fine. Except what do we know about the relationship of weight to the cost of a bike? All together: lighter is more expensive. Nice regressive tax you've dreamed up there, Ira.

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