Oregon has become the first state to have it’s legislature approve a statewide bike tax, and bicyclists are not happy about it. According to the Washington Times, Oregon governor Kate Brown is expected to sign a $5.3 billion transportation package that contains a $15 excise tax on the sale of bicycles that cost over $200 with a wheel diameter of at least 26 inches.
The bike tax is expected to raise $1.2 million per year to improve and expand paths and trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. Oregon has no sales tax, which means buyers won’t be double-taxed on their bikes. The state has one of the highest income taxes in the country instead, at 9.9% for top marginalized individual filers.
Even so, bicycling advocates don’t like the tax. Portland was ranked the third-most bike-friendly city in 2016 by Bicycling magazine, citing the 7.2 percent of residents who commute by bicycle. The Street Trust, a Portland pro-bike group, supports the overall transportation package but says the bike tax “sends the wrong message to those trying to help. Others say it will tax the healthiest, most inexpensive and environmentally friendly and economically sustainable form of transportation.