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Audience: This essay will address the subcommittee on vehicular taxes. The subcommittee consists of legislators who for the most part are are well educated and well-informed individuals. This essay will appeal a recently passed 18% tax on off road vehicles. Legislators may prove to be stubborn so a convincing argument is a must.
Necessities are a common thing in life. We need food to eat and water to drink, basic necessities they are, but unimportant they are not. Ones basic necessities of life should not be interfered with.
Transportation to and from work is a necessity which must not be overlooked. Recently an 18% surtax was placed on all off road vehicles. Mountain bikes, my source of transportation to and from my job, are included in this tax. Life should not be made difficult, and expensive, by unnecessary taxes placed on necessary items. As members of the state legislature’s subcommittee on vehicular traffic I would like you to reconsider the taxing of mountain bikes.
Taxing of off road vehicles in Alaska is a great source of revenue. Mountain bikes however do not fit the category of vehicles that is being taxed. The subcommittee on vehicular traffic should not even have a say in the taxing of mountain bikes. The definition of vehicular is, “of, relating to or designed for vehicles, especially motor vehicles.” A mountain bike is a motor less form of transportation, thereby not fitting the definition of vehicular. Legislators need to take a look at the focus of their new tax.
This second look will reveal the errors of the legislators ways. A mistake as simple as including a non motorized vehicle in this tax could very easily be changed.
An 18% tax on all off road vehicles must be changed to fit only those vehicles used for pleasure and recreation. The mountain bike I purchased is being used for transportation to and from work, a necessary daily commute. The mountain bike is the most economically efficient method of transportation. Why must this money saving option carry a surtax of 18%? The only justification for this tax is an attempt to cut down on off road vehicles in Alaska, or an unethical taxing of items necessary for life in an isolated Alaska town. I feel any off road vehicle, including mountain bikes, should not be placed under the new surtax as long as their main purpose is for use as a work vehicle. It is still just to tax an off road vehicle used for pleasure, because these vehicles are not a necessity.
Not only is a mountain bike an essential part of daily life, is also an important factor to the future of Alaska. Vehicular traffic requires a fuel of some sort which is shipped through leaking pipelines, and accident prone tankers. Mountain bikes are powered by the human body, an efficient pollution free engine. Vehicular traffic requires large long wearing roads while a mountain bike needs only a small path. A mountain bike is not just a necessity, it is the obvious ecologically correct choice for short range transportation in Alaska.
Alaska is home to the most fragile ecosystem in the world, a tundra. The tundra is a frozen barren land much of the year. However during the short summer it is home to some of the most beautiful and delicate wild flowers and grasses in the world. Roads crossing this tundra leave deep scars in the land, Scars which will not disappear for thousands of years. Narrow superficial scars are the only damage done by mountain bikes. Superficial scars such as these are not only easier to repair but easier to maintain as well. Roads require continual upkeep such as resurfacing, smoothing and removal of snow. This upkeep only worsens the impact on Alaska’s ecosystem. Riding a mountain bike is my effort to preserve as much of Alaska as possible. The subcommittee needs to support an environmental effort to lessen the harm of vehicular traffic on the land.
Alaska is a state of great distances. Cities are spread far apart. Off road vehicles are the main source of transportation for traveling a significant distance. I understand the subcommittee’s need to create revenue. However, the taxing of such necessary things as ones transportation to work is beyond my perception. Usually when a person tries to help the environment they are rewarded. The subcommittee however is punishing individuals such as myself. Taxing an item such as a mountain bike will only turn people away from making environmentally and economically correct decisions. What separates a mountain bike from vehicular traffic is its ability to instill a sense of pride in an individual. People will have a sense of pride because they are consciously helping the environment in which they live, work, and play. Placing an 18% surtax on mountain bikes will replace feelings of pride with those of disgust and regret.
Alaska’s destruction of land and resources does not have to continue. What we need is cooperation and communication between the subcommittee and those making informed correct decisions, such as myself. What started as poor decision by the subcommittee on vehicular traffic can be turned into a step forward for current residents and future residents of Alaska. Two different classes of off road vehicles must be created, unnecessary recreational vehicles which will be taxed, and vehicles necessary for work which will not be subject to the new tax. This classification of vehicles would be similar to the program used in Wisconsin to lower taxes and licensing costs for vehicles used on farms. These lower taxes are set up to avoid unnecessarily taxing vehicle purchases that can’t be avoided. A program such as this would be a great success for both the state of Alaska and its citizens.
Environmentally a mountain bike is the best choice. Economically a mountain bike is the best choice. Politically however, a person pays for making the right choice. By changing the new surtax to eliminate the taxing of mountain bikes used for work purposes will enable people to happily make the right transportation choice. Knowing the person is making the right choice makes him or her feel good about what he or she has done. This feeling is not present in one Alaskan. As a citizen of Alaska, ask the Subcommittee to reconsider their tax on mountain bikes because it is environmentally incorrect, economically inappropriate, and an example of poor taste by the state legislature. Until this tax problem is corrected the State legislature’s subcommittee on vehicular traffic will carry a reputation for being inferior governmental leaders by at least one concerned Alaskan.
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