Monday, October 6, 2008

Bailout Pork to benefit cyclists?

Since I strongly embrace a "small government is good government" philosophy, I've been totally distressed and disgusted by the Wall Street Bailout Plan. Firstly, if those Wall Street Geniuses are so incompetent they can't successfully run their businesses, should we let them squander even more of our citizen dollars by the semi-truckload? Secondly, the haste to pass the bill is uncomfortably similar to the classic carnival-hawker Hard Sell: "Act today, because the offer expires today!" I'm not comfortable at all with it, like a meaningful majority of my fellow citizens. Like it or not, our "representatives" have sent it on through, and President Bush, a proven proponent of Big Government, immediately signed it.

But wait! Do I detect a silver lining in that dark cloud?

Turns out that one of the "sweeteners" the second time around was the attachment of the "bicycle commuting tax credit."

What is it?

It's a $20-per-month tax credit per cycling employee. (Make sure your CEO knows!) If your employer provides safe haven for bicycles, or showers and lockers, or what-have-you to benefit bike commuters, the credit is available.

Essentially, it levels the playing field on behalf of cyclists. For quite some time, employers have benefited from providing parking for employees who drive to work, or assisting with mass transit -using workers. It has long been championed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the cyclists' best friend in D.C. (I have more admiration for the man now; he voted against the Bailout, even with the added pork... which was obviously put in there to tempt him.)

For more info, check HERE.


db said...

I'm not happy about the bailout either, nor am I really happy about the bicycle tax credit. It's voluntary, frankly, and many employers -- especially smaller ones -- will not see the value of adding showers, lockers, etc. for $20-$80 per month in tax credits.

Here's more from Rep. Blumenauer regarding the bailout.

Michael Carpenter said...

My company recently cracked down on parking bikes inside the building. That means that year-round commuters will have to leave their bikes outside, unsheltered, in the rain, snow, etc. (Previously, people brought their bikes in and parked them in the halls, which is probably a fire code violation.)

I'd like to see our company use this tax credit to buy some enclosed bike lockers or some way to shelter and protect the bikes.

Of course, since our stock took a dive along with everyone else's I doubt that will happen.

(As an aside, yes, this new policy really angered people that have expensive bikes. The bike racks are completely exposed (no overhead shelter) and leaving a $1000 bike outside just isn't palatable. So, there's a stealth movement to put those bikes in cubes and that hasn't gone over well either.)

Anonymous said...

Sorry off topic but Bikeboy since you are also a motorcyclist you might be interested in this discussion.