Democrats in the Washington legislature have just announced details of the next decade’s $9.8 billion transportation budget. Included in the budget? A proposal for a new fee (likely a sales or excise tax) on sales of bikes costing over $500.
This is lunacy, and whichever bike-hating representative tossed it into the proposal deserves a speedy and unceremonious exit from office.
And it’s not even the fact that it lards more cost onto bikes that’s got me galled (although that IS galling, for reasons that should be obvious). No, the bigger problem is that you’ve got one or more legislators thinking nothing of proposing a new tax – along with the concomitant set of reporting, payment and enforcement obligations – that is expected to raise $100,000 per year.
One hundred grand? You can barely pay for one Olympia bureaucrat for that kind of money, let alone what it’s going to take to administer this new tax. It’s the same issue that makes virtually all efforts to license bikes ineffective – the revenues generated can’t possibly cover the costs.
But hey – if you’re a legislator who hates bikes and love big government, what do you care? Just pop your symbolic measure into a massive transportation bill and sort it out if it ever gets enacted. Pathetic.