An Oregon Sales Tax on Bikes?!

The Street Trust has long been working to partner with the Oregon legislature to raise funding for safe, inviting bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Oregon communities. The transportation funding package bill, HB 2017, currently in the Oregon legislature, would increase investments in bicycle and pedestrian paths by imposing a 3% sales tax on bicycles.

The Street Trust’s position on this section of the proposed bill is as follows:

  • We want the legislature to remove the bicycle sales tax from the bill in its entirety.
  • We want the legislature to maintain new funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Bicycle and pedestrian trails are so important to Oregon communities and absolutely should be included in the transportation funding package.  A sales tax on bicycles is not an effective way to raise those funds.  Bicycle and pedestrian trails bring broad value to our communities; the tax base for investing in these facilities should be the broad community- not a specific user group.  Bicycling is a big part of the solution to our transportation challenges; we want to make it as accessible as possible to Oregonians.  Also, we have heard clearly from our Oregon bicycle industry partners that the bicycle tax policy as written would have a negative impact on small businesses in Oregon.

The Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization will be having what might be their last work session on HB 2017 this evening, Thursday, June 8. As the window closes on amendments, its likely the final bill will include a bicycle tax.  While we oppose a bicycle sales tax, The Street Trust could support a balanced transportation funding package bill that invests significantly in a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program, transit operations, and safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities and that also includes a bicycle tax under the following conditions.

  • The bicycle sales tax remains 100% dedicated to increasing investments in off-street bicycle and pedestrian paths.
  • The tax rate is reduced to 1%
  • The tax exempts used bicycles, children’s bicycles, and bicycles under $200 to ease the burden on low income families.
  • E-bicycles and exclusively human-powered bicycles are treated identically.
  • There is a cap of $50-$100 on the amount of tax paid to not unfairly tax those that are investing in family bikes and electric bikes.

As we partner with our policy makers to increase investments in safe places to walk and bike, we could support a package that includes a sales tax that is more broad based, lowers the burden on small Oregon bike retailers, protects low-income Oregonians, and raises more money for safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Now is the time to tell your legislators how you would and would not support funding safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities.


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Subject: Invest in bicycle and pedestrian trails with a broad based, low tax

Dear Members of the Join Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization,

I am writing to ask you to amend the policy language on HB 2017-3 regarding a bicycle sales tax.

Safe facilities for bicycling and walking are critical in Oregon communities. Such investments belong in a balanced transportation funding package.  The 3% bicycle tax currently proposed in not the path to funding these improvements.  Everyone in our communities benefits from these investments in safe and healthy communities, so the tax burden should be shared more broadly. As currently written, this bill will have a negative impact on small Oregon businesses and on Oregonians choosing to travel in way that improves health and eases congestion.

Please remove the bicycle salestax from HB 2017, and maintain new funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities through a more broad based, low tax.

Thank you,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]


Comments (1)

  1. Al Permalink  | Jun 08, 2017 04:10pm

    Please proof read the “Dear Members” message.

    What is the schedule for this bill? When should advocacy switch from addressing the transportation committee to addressing the entire legislature?

    Other points that can be made against the bill:
    – Cyclists are also motorists. We already pay our fare share. Double taxation?
    – Why are cyclists being singled out when much of the infrastructure improvements also benefit pedestrians? Where is the shoe tax? Of course, I’m joking to make a point.
    – The point of the Oregon Bicycle Bill, introduced by a Republican incidentally, was to lower the cost of infrastructure spending for all Oregonians. A sales tax on bicycles undermines the purpose of Oregon’s Bicycle Bill and will end up costing every Oregonian whether they bicycle or not.

    Thank you.