Washington State representative Ed Orcutt sent this email regarding the new transportation tax proposal wherein he states that cyclist should pay gas taxes just like motorists because "riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride" What the Representative neglects to address is the fact that the increase in heart rate and Co2 production is not limited to cyclists, but is also experienced by runners, rollerbladers and the morbidly obese climbing a set of stairs. Ed also fails to
Instead of merely writing a blog about my displeasure with Mr Orcutt's lack of sensibility, I have decided to publish an email that I sent to the Representative.
Subject: Taxes for cyclists
Dear Representative Orcutt,
I recently read an email that you wrote to Robert Tournay claiming that cyclist should be paying taxes for the increased co2 production created while riding a bike. I hope that your email was written as a joke but, just in case you were serious, I would like to give you my rebuttal
It is abundantly clear that physical exertion leads to increased heart rate and as much as 10x increase in the metabolizing of O2, which results in more co2 production, this is not however limited to cyclist. I cannot argue your logic backing a tax for cyclist but, the new tax is not complete without including a taxation on several other key groups also sharing our roads and public places.
- People who go to a gym are the "18 wheelers" of personal co2 production, these people usually drive to a gym then, get their heart pumping by using a machine that (in many cases) is using electricity. The use of fossil fuels, electricity and personal O2 metabolizing makes this group the worst offenders.
- Runners typically have a higher exertion level leading to greater amounts of co2produced; additionally running places more strain on the ankles and knees leading to increased medical visits to our already strained healthcare system.
- Obesity only exacerbates the problem of co2 production by humans; someone who is physically fit will produce less co2 while climbing up a set of public stairs than a fat person. Imposing a fat tax would limit personal co2 emissions and -again- lead to decreased healthcare costs.
I cannot deny that "I am tired of fatties breathin' up all my air" but that language is seldom passed in government bills, here is my recommended amendment to the proposed transportation bill. If there must be a transportation tax, impose a national 1% sales tax on the vehicle being purchased, a $10,000 car or bicycle would both carry an additional $100 tax. The people that are going to most benefit from the transportation tax would be the people funding it. An extra $30 tax on a $3000 bike is almost negligible and the $250 tax on a $25,000 car could be rolled into the auto loan and would amount to an additional 4.25 a month on 5 year loan (less than a large Starbucks latte).
What I am really bothered by is the lack of choice as to where my tax dollars go, I don't mind paying for good roads to ride on and good schools but, I hate having to pay the salary of a representative who doesn't fully understand how greenhouse gasses work. Have you ever cited your degree in science to suggest a reduction in water vapor, another greenhouse gas? Does your assessment of production of co2 have any sort of comparison charts between a cyclist versus a single person in a car? I find your lack of cited material regarding co2 emissions staggering.
The state of Washington is home to hundreds of bicycle shops, as well as Kona Bicycles; a well respected, internationally sold bike brand.
I think if you did a bit of cycling yourself you may have a better grasp of how ridiculous your email to Mr Tournay was.
I expect a poorly thought out dismissal of my suggestions and potential bowling references. STRIKE!