Friday, January 14, 2011

Annals of New Jersey politics: The bicycle tax 

Two days ago, New Jersey Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex County) introduced a bill to impose a $10 tax on every bicycle in the state, and require it to bear a license plate to be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The putative concern was that kids on bikes had knocked over some old folks and license plates would make it easier to identify them after the crime. But the bill did a lot more than that:

Had the bill gone through, all bikers registering their "vehicle" would have had to provide information such as the year, model, color, weight, serial number, owner’s address, date purchased and amount of state sales tax they paid on it, reports NJ.com.

Yeah, because knowing the amount of state sales tax paid will make the hit-and-run biker kids so much easier to identify.

My question: I thought Democrats wanted us to ride bikes to, you know, save the planet and whatnot, and here they want to tax them. I'm confused. I'm baffled.

Fortunately, hue and cry paid off. Yesterday, after every cyclist (and quite a few couch potatoes) in the state mocked her, Assemblywoman Tucker withdrew her bill. Bullet dodged, especially by the road bikers who spent an extra $100 to shave three ounces off their seat, which would have been more than nullified by the Garden State license plate flapping in the breeze underneath.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 14, 09:33:00 AM:

Two things about this:

1. Many years ago when I lived in Cranbury, NJ, we had a Cub Scout Bike day. Everybody filled out a registration card and got a numbered sticker from the local police department. Fast forward several years. My bike is stolen from my, admittedly, unlocked garage, and I figured I'd seen the last of it. A few weeks later I got a call from the local police saying that my bike was at the police station and I could pick it up. When doing so, I commented to the officer that the tags had worked in getting my bike returned. He replied, "No, the local crackhead stole it, rode it over to West Windsor where he stole a Mustang and left my bike behind." When apprehended, he always was, he admitted that he had stolen it out of Mr. W.....'s garage.

2. Speaking of taxing desired behavior. Here in Maryland a year or so ago the state instituted a $1.50 per month license fee for having an EZ-Pass transponder. Since we used it infrequently, I turned mine in. This tax discourages the desired behavior of using EZ-Pass rather than paying cash. Now on the Bay Bridge all lanes but one or two have toll takers as well as EZ-Pass sensors. They should have just raised the cash toll to $3.00 from $2.50. So If they had, there'd be less opportunity for graft and getting cushy jobs for your ne'er do well nephew. My desired behavior might not be a politician's.


By Blogger Goldwater's Ghost, at Fri Jan 14, 09:41:00 AM:

You said "bullet dodged" you right wing, fascist hatemonger.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 14, 09:53:00 AM:

I heard her next plan was to impose a $5.00 fee on tricycles  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 14, 10:05:00 AM:

Here's an all-purpose quote you can use for all such future outrages, courtesy of Mitch Daniels:

"“I believe that there’s zero-sum relationship between government growth and freedom”

I don't know a helluva lot about Mitch Daniels, but I know I agree with that statement. This "bicycle tax" is a great example of what he means, and right at a level every fourth grader can understand.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Fri Jan 14, 10:12:00 AM:

This got shouted down, appropriately. That's more likely to happen when government action is more local, and hence accountable.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Fri Jan 14, 12:10:00 PM:

How about a tax on feet?  

By Blogger ruralcounsel, at Fri Jan 14, 01:06:00 PM:

How much for a Big Wheel?

And what to do about all those bikes that are brought in from out of state when a family moves to NJ, and didn't pay NJ sales tax? What was the point of collecting tax info? Did she seriously think that there could be a chance to levy even more taxes?

It's all about abuse of power and hostility to freedom.  

By Anonymous Randall, at Fri Jan 14, 03:35:00 PM:

Silly rabbit -- Democrats don't think that taxes discourage behavior. They're just what is warranted to punish those bicycle tycoons for avoiding the gas tax.

Just a more amatuerish attempt to not let a crisis (seniors run down by kids on bikes) go to waste.

"Best comment of the day" award goes to Goldwater's Ghost.  

By Blogger joated, at Fri Jan 14, 09:36:00 PM:

Oh man! If there was ever someone who deserved to be totally mocked and laughed out of office...this woman is the one.

BTW "Bullet dodged," You sure you want to use such hostile wordage?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jan 15, 01:09:00 PM:

>> And what to do about all those
>> bikes that are brought in from
>> out of state when a family moves
>> to NJ, and didn't pay NJ sales
>> tax? What was the point of
>> collecting tax info? Did she
>> seriously think that there could
>> be a chance to levy even more
>> taxes?

If you purchase a bicycle outside of New Jersey and pay no sales tax in the other state (or pay a sales tax there that is less than 7%), and then bring that bike home to New Jersey, you owe "use tax" to the State of New Jersey:
As for the family moving from a no-sales-tax state to New Jersey and bringing along the kids' bikes (and all of their other household goods), arguably the New Jersey use tax would not apply because at the time they bought the bike (and their other stuff) they were not purchasing it "for use in New Jersey." But if they bought a bike for the kid for Christmas in their no-sales-tax home state knowing they would be moving to New Jersey in January, that use tax would be due the State of New Jersey when they moved. Lesson: ALL tax laws are so complex and sweeping, that ANY person who is audited with enough intensity will be found to be a tax cheat.  

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Sat Jan 15, 06:56:00 PM:

"And what to do about all those bikes that are brought in from out of state when a family moves to NJ, and didn't pay NJ sales tax? "

Who moves to NJ?  

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