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Repeal, and Thee Shall Be Saved

The challenge for Nevada legislators this session – at least those not hell-bent on growing government – is to find ways to boost tax revenues to fund truly essential government services without raising taxes in the middle of a recession. And for a tourist-based economy such as Nevada’s, that means looking for new no-cost ways to…di-di-di…boost tourism.

Here’s one: Pass AB 300, the “Let Those Who Ride Decide” bill to repeal Nevada’s nanny-state mandatory motorcycle helmet law being sponsored by Assemblyman Don Gustavson (R-Reno).

It’s a fact of life that many motorcyclists avoid states with mandatory helmet laws and reward states which treat them like adults. So if the Nevada Legislature would simply repeal its helmet law the way a number of other states already have, it goes without saying that tourism dollars from motorcyclists for hotels, camping, food and other sales would follow.

Also consider that in the five years following repeal of Florida’s helmet law, motorcycle registrations jumped from 195,306 to 473,637, a 143% increase in new rider registrations. And that, boys and girls, represents a significant amount of new tax revenue without raising taxes.

According to ABATE, the motorcyclists’ advocacy organization, between the sales tax revenue of new and additional motorcycle purchases and the additional revenue from registration and change-of-title fees, Florida enjoyed almost $3 billion in revenue directly tied to the motorcycle industry after repeal of the helmet law.

On the other hand, when California passed its mandatory helmet law, there was a 26% drop in new motorcycle sales and ridership dropped by 18%, which ended up costing the state over $1 million in gas taxes, $15 million in lost sales and payroll taxes, and another $1 million in lost registration fees.

Considering the fact that California is in the worst financial shape of any state in the country, why would Nevada want to continue following their example?