Taxes on the horizon: Bikes, gas and marriage

Life in Oregon got a little more expensive in the wake of the 2017 Legislature.

Before banging their gavels and going home Friday, lawmakers adopted, or increased, taxes, fines and fees on bicycles, marriage, divorce and definitely the shiny new car that caught your eye.

While the big, controversial bills like abortion and extending health benefits to undocumented children caused all the fireworks between February and July, the little boosts in fines, fees and taxes may be the biggest bite that Oregonians feel.

This is not to say that the Democratic-controlled Legislature was any more greedy than its predecessors. All Legislatures work the tiny levers that bring in gallons of cash by means of a drip, drip, drip at the cash register.

VIDEO: Major bills from Oregon's 79th Legislative session

Consider how much Oregon legislatures love so-called sin taxes on wine, cider, microbrews, cigarettes and, most recently, e-cigarettes. The state takes a sip of every pint you quaff.

This session, the Legislature's biggest push in that direction was making it easier for brewers and vintners to pay up through a new, online portal.

Gettin' around gets more expensive

Like to be out on the open road, feeling the wind in your hair?

Well, the Legislature's all-new transportation packages has some taxes for you, too:

Buying a new car? Your dealer likely will pass on a 0.5 percent excise tax on the retail value. That’s $157 on the average new-car price of $31,400.

And registering that car also will cost more, too. The basic fee will increase from $43 to $56 per year. Beginning in 2020, an additional amount will be imposed, with higher fuel economy vehicles paying more – as much as $110 more for electric vehicles.

Gas taxes are going up, too, by 4 cents next year and another 2 cents every other year through 2024.

And don't think you can escape by using your own muscle and sweat to scoot down the road. Oregon will impose the nation’s first bicycle tax – a flat $15 fee on grow up bicycles that cost $200 or more.

As for mass transit improvements, most everyone will contribute through a 0.1 percent payroll tax. It will cost a worker with a $50,000 annual salary about $50 per year.

What will you get for all that?

If you’re buying an electric vehicle, you’re in luck. Part of the payroll tax will subsidize rebates of up to $2,500 for electric and other zero-emissions vehicles.

Your commute could go faster as a result of congestion-relieving projects in the Portland area and around the state. More money for maintenance will mean fewer potholes. In Salem, the Center Street Bridge will get a major seismic upgrade lest your fear the Big One --  a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.

Being in and out of love gets costly

To the Oregon Legislature, even relationships are a taxing matter.

If you want to get married on the cheap at a county courthouse, it’ll cost you an additional $5 for a total of $110, thanks to the 2017 Legislature.

Breaking up is hard to do, but now it's even more expensive. The Legislature added $14 to the cost of filing for separation, annulment or divorce. The total cost is now $287.

To keep your pocketbook safe, watch out what you do behind the wheel. The Legislature gave a $5 bump to speeding in a highway work zone, school zone and safety corridor. Fines can be as steep as $875 for the most egregious violators.

Get caught texting or talking or checking Facebook while behind the wheel more than once and you'll be liable for a whopping $2,000 fine, up from $500 in previous law.

And finally, even good luck won't help you escape the state's pinch. Place a bet at Portland Meadows and odds are that 1 percent will be skimmed off to support the Oregon Racing Commission.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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