As I See It
Proposed Tax to Bicyclists
Bicyclists in Wisconsin are under attack from lawmakers. Governor Walker has proposed eliminating the Complete Streets program as part of his budget. Complete Streets laws dictate that when new roads are built, designers must take into account the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. That has led to more paved shoulders, bike lanes and fewer dangerous intersections. Walker claims eliminating Complete Streets would save more than $7 million over four years, although others suggest the savings would be much less. And now we’re learning that some in the Wisconsin legislature would like to impose a $25 sales tax on all new bicycles made in Wisconsin. And to add insult to injury, that money would be added to the general transportation budget, rather than being dedicated for projects that promote bicycle safety. Basically, those who buy new bicycles would be getting nothing for the extra money they would have to spend. And our roads would be less safe. The desire to tax bicyclists seems to come from the view that they are some sort of freeloaders, who don’t pay their share for roads because they use less gasoline. They may not be paying as much in gas tax, but they also aren’t inflicting the same level of damage to our roads, or causing as much pollution. Our lawmakers should reject the proposed repeal of complete streets, and ditch the idea of collecting a new tax from those who are trying to be health and environmentally conscious.