Proposed bike tax gets mixed reactions in Portland

Proposed bike tax gets mixed reactions in Portland

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by KGW reporter Katherine Cook

Bio | Email | Follow: @KCookKGW

kgw.com

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Updated Friday, May 31 at 8:21 PM

PORTLAND -- Oregonians don't pay sales tax, but would they pay a tax on new bicycles? A committee from The City Club of Portland proposed such a tax in the name of safety.

Revenue generated from the 4 percent state-wide excise tax would fund bicycle safety programs and materials and pay for more bike counters like the one on the Hawthorne bridge.

More: City Club proposes tax on new bike sales

The tax, however, would not pay for bike infrastructure.

"I understand that anytime you suggest a new tax it's going to be controversial," said Craig Bebee, a member of the City Club of Portland and bike tax supporter. "It could really fund safety programs... not just in Portland but state-wide and build them long term."

Around Portland, cyclists had mixed feelings.

"I would support a bike tax," said Francesca Sims. "I think if you're buying a bike you're going to be using those services and 4 percent doesn't seem to be a big amount to pay."

Ian Bolt, disagreed.

"I don't think they should be putting any kind of tax on bikes whatsoever," he said. “We're doing a service for the environment by cycling here... (a bike tax is) just silly to me."

City Club members will start voting on the bike tax proposal next week. If it passes, they'll seek approval from local lawmakers.

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