Legislators Are Hearing From Us, Keep It Up!

We’ve been asking you to email or call your legislators to weigh in on the anti-biking proposals in the state budget. And you’ve been coming through! We’re getting lots of feedback from legislative offices that they’re hearing from you.

We can’t be sure when the votes on the bike tax, Complete Streets and TAP will happen but it will be soon. So, please, keep it up!

Among the great messages you’ve sent we came across this one from Bob Bourgeois of Whitefish Bay. We reprint it here in whole just because we found it so great and inspiring.

 

Dear Senator Darling:

I am a constituent living in Whitefish Bay. Lifelong Wisconsin resident, taxpayer and business owner.

Please vote to restore Complete Streets and $2 million in Transportation Alternatives Funding when the Joint Finance Committee takes up these issues.

I know we’re living through a kind of a “new” legislative era, where things like this seem to be part of a much bigger, broader and more “bold” agenda, on whose fundamentals you and I will likely always disagree. But … really. Removing funding for transportation alternatives sends a completely counter-productive, negative signal to creative, youthful, energetic and high-potential prospective Wisconsin businesses and residents. And it tells young people (and young businesses) who’ve grown up in our State – and who we’d prefer to keep in our State – that our values are anchored to mid 20th-century technologies rooted in fossil fuels. This is a place where so many of our neighbors just don’t live. Corporate funding sources and corporate lobbyists may live there, but the majority of our colleagues and friends — those who actually CREATE jobs and value — simply do not.

I also request that you oppose the $25 bike tax.

How is it that we are cutting taxes in numerous other industries, yet in this instance, we would be instituting a new tax on an industry that produces over $1.5 billion in annual economic activity and supports over 14,000 Wisconsin jobs?

If “Wisconsin is open for business,” why in heaven’s name are we targeting the bicycle industry with this punitive tax? What on Earth does this possibly do for us except send the wrong messages about healthy lifestyles, the benefits of exercise and a State that welcomes and supports recreational pursuits? A TAX on bicycles? Senator Darling, this is egregious. Please demonstrate leadership, vision, foresight and decency. Please oppose this punitive, ridiculous maneuver.

 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Bourgeois

321 E. Lexington Boulevard

Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

 

Bob’s letter is a textbook example of how to do it right.

 

He starts out be establishing his credentials as a constituent, taxpayer and business owner.

 

Then he hits all the main logical arguments for each of our issues. But he adds in his personal perspective, which is that pro-bike policies are good for business and job growth, an argument he’s in a good position to make as a business owner.

 

Each of us comes from our own perspective. If you don’t own your own business maybe you’re a parent, who wants your child to be healthy and active but also safe. Bike infrastructure is important for you to achieve what’s best for your kids.

 

Or maybe you’re retired and use the bike to get around and to stay fit. Do you know that there are 77 million Baby Boomers out there? They need to stay healthy to avoid medical costs that will consume their children and grandkids.

 

Whatever your story is, please tell it to the people who hold the power in our state and please tell it now.

 

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

2 thoughts on “Legislators Are Hearing From Us, Keep It Up!

  1. Here’s mine. The reply was “what bike tax are you referring to?”
    And a sentence about restoring complete streets decisions to each individual town…ie not leadership, simply passing the buck

    Sen. Roth,

    I make a living an employee people in Wisconsin because I invent and sell bicycle accessories. I have generated over $200,000 in sales just from Kickstarter in the last 2 years by selling bicycle accessories. Our state has a proud heritage nationwide as being welcoming to cyclists and progressive about planning for cycling as a transportation solution. I urge you to take a stand on this issue and make the right choice.

    Restore complete streets – The impact is FAR greater than simply tax dollars going into pavement. You have a responsibility to see the big picture and complete streets is a long game. This initiative is hand in hand with alternation transportation. I never understand why people get upset about bicycle funding. The more people using bikes means less people driving and less traffic. Everyone wins here.

    Bike Tax – This thought does not even warrant discussion it is so absurd.

    Again I produce revenue and jobs by servicing the bicycling industry directly.

    Thanks!
    Brian Davis
    Founder
    BackBottle & Fix It Sticks
    +address info.

  2. Great the hear the Bike Fed and its members are getting our voices heard and making a difference in shaping the budget. Great letters!

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