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Bike Tax Bill in Maine Defeated

Published May 9, 2011

AUGUSTA, Maine (BRAIN)—A bill that sought to impose a 2 percent surcharge on new bike sales in Maine was recently defeated in committee, and after being presented to the full legislature last week, was placed in legislative files as dead.

“It’s nice to see dead next to it. We’re very happy,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which had lobbied strongly against it. “I think in this climate, the tax was unpopular. It became really obvious to people that the tax was going to be a financial burden to bike shops, especially in the southern half of the state, and it wasn’t going to generate significant funding for road infrastructure. It was a poorly conceived bill.”

As originally drafted, proceeds from the new tax would go toward a Bikeway Construction Fund administered by the state DOT for the construction, improvement and maintenance of bikeways. But advocates and retailers argued that it would stifle sales. About 57 bike shops operate in the state of Maine.

The bill, LD 1189, was introduced by Rep. Ralph Sarty.

—Lynette Carpiet

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