Tax on tires?

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board February 01, 2013 08:34 am

The campaign to curb the use of studded tires on Oregon highways rolls on.

When legislators convene Monday for the 2013 session in Salem, they’ll have at least three bills to consider.

Two would add a fee for each studded tire sold in the state. HB 2278 sets a $10 per tire fee, and HB 2397 calls for a fee to be established later.

HB 2277 would require drivers to obtain a permit before driving with studded tires. The state would calculate the cost of the permit by dividing the estimated cost of damage to roads caused by studded tires, by the number of vehicles equipped with such tires.

HB 2277 deserves a categorical rejection. Gauging damage caused by studded tires is little more than a educated guess.

HB 2278, though, has merit.

Although we’re studded tire supporters, it can’t be denied that these tires accelerate the wear of pavement compared with non-studded tires.

A modest fee — we like 5 bucks a tire rather than 10 — would help to pay that extra cost without putting studded tires out of financial reach for Oregonians who benefit from their unique qualities.