Law­maker “shocked” by re­ac­tion to idea

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, jpaul@den­ver­ or @JesseAPaul

A top Repub­li­can state law­maker who last week floated a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal to tax bi­cy­cles to help pay for the state’s in­fra­struc­ture needs says he is “a lit­tle shocked by the raw nerve I struck.”

“My at­tempt to start a con­ver­sa­tion has been met with hys­te­ria by some and rea­son­able ideas by oth­ers, re­flect­ing a di­ver­sity of opin­ions on the sub­ject that didn’t cut neatly along party or ide­o­log­i­cal lines,” state Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junc­tion wrote Mon­day on Face­book.

Scott, the as­sis­tant ma­jor­ity leader, wrote on the same Face­book page last week that he plans to in­tro­duce some sort of bi­cy­cle tax in the wake of the Ore­gon leg­is­la­ture vot­ing this month to levy a flat $15 sales tax on bikes worth more than $200.

What­ever form such a bike tax might take, the sug­ges­tion in­flamed some in the bi­cy­cle com­mu­nity, with cycling ad­vo­cates al­ready promis­ing to fight the pro­posal.

“Bi­cy­cles are part of the so­lu­tion for our roads, not the prob­lem,” Bi­cy­cle Colorado wrote in a post so­lic­it­ing do­na­tions to fight the pro­posal.

Scott says the re­sponse to his pro­posal has con­vinced him more than ever that there needs to be a con­ver­sa­tion about tax­ing bi­cy­clists and that it is “a de­bate worth hav­ing.”

The tax would be a drop in the bucket to­ward the state’s pro­jected $9 bil­lion in un­funded in­fra­struc­ture needs over the next decade. The Ore­gon tax is ex­pected to gen­er­ate less than $1.4 mil­lion a year, ac­cord­ing to a state rev­enue anal­y­sis.

Colorado trans­porta­tion ad­vo­cates have been try­ing for years to raise gas or sales taxes to pay for roads, but the ef­forts have al­ways failed at the leg­is­la­ture due to Repub­li­can op­po­si­tion.

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