Washington Gives Transit Riders A Lump Of Coal This Holiday Season
Transit Tax Hike Tops Tough Year For Transit Riders
The millions of New Yorkers who depend on public transit every day are getting a tax hike from Washington this holiday season as Congress reduced the amount of income eligible for tax exception in commuter benefits like TransitChek. The tax benefit will be reduced only for transit riders--drivers will continue to enjoy lower taxes.
"Only a Grinch would hit New Yorkers with a tax hike in this economy," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "A year of eroding financial support for transit has given the millions of New Yorkers who depend on the subway and buses enough grief in a tough economy--now we're asked to pay more while drivers get a free ride."
The amount of income eligible for tax exception to pay transit fares will fall to $125 a month from the current $230 a month on January 1st. Meanwhile the parking benefit for drivers will increase from $230 to $240 a month.
This latest blow to transit riders comes after a year of alarming developments for the region's transit system. Governor Cuomo signed a tax deal this month that robbed transit riders of $320 million in funding, replacing guaranteed revenue with an IOU from a perennially cash-strapped state government facing a $2 billion budget deficit next year. The same legislative package thoroughly gutted the Transit Funding Lockbox Act--a provision designed to inhibit future raids on transit funding--and left the transit system's financial base disturbingly vulnerable to more cuts.
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