Riding a bike is good for your health and the environment – so you’d think governments would go out of their way to encourage cyclists, right? Wrong. Oregon — a state known for its avid bicycling culture – just approved the nation’s first statewide bicycle tax. The new excise tax will require consumers to pay $15 for bikes that cost over $200 with a wheel diameter of at least 26 inches.

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The Washington Times reports that the $5.3 billion transportation package is expected to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. Both anti-tax Republicans and environmentally conscious consumers are frustrated by the development. It is “an unprecedented step in the wrong direction,” said BikePortland publisher Jonathan Maus. “We are taxing the healthiest, most inexpensive, most environmentally friendly, most efficient and most economically sustainable form of transportation ever devised by the human species.”

Related: Sweden wants to fight waste with new tax breaks for repairs

According to Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier, the tax is an effect of Governor Brown’s “endless obsession with finding new and innovative ways to take money out of the pockets of Oregon taxpayers.”

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There are numerous reasons bikes are better for the environment than automobiles. For instance, bicycles require fewer natural resources to create, emit zero emissions, cut down on health care costs (30 minutes of cycling a day is estimated to save $544/year) and help combat noise pollution — in addition to other benefits. This acknowledged, why should consumers who strive to get healthier and benefit the environment pay more money to do so?

Via Washington Times

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