[Update: The package passed the Senate, 81-19, with the transit benefit provision intact.]
The U.S. Senate is likely to pass today a tax package (the Bush-tax-cut “compromise package”) which includes cancellation of the federal “transit tax hike“ and would keep payroll tax deductions for transit and parking equal at $230/month. If Congress does not take action by the end of the year, the transit benefit will be cut in half to $120/month, while the driving benefit will stay the same.
The legislation currently on the table would keep the maximum transit deduction at $230/month for another year, allowing transit commuters to rest easy. But as TSTC federal advocate Ya-Ting Liu told Transportation Nation today, it’s not a done deal yet, and long-term reform will still be needed:
After the Senate vote, the tax package compromise will be taken up by the House. Should it pass there, the House and Senate would need to come up with a reconciled bill and then pass that before the end of the year.
Liu said the yearly suspense over the $230 benefit for transit riders could be avoided if the provision were to be written into the tax code, as it has been for drivers.
“The underlying issue is parity between transit and parking,” she said. “Right now, this is a permanent benefit that only drivers enjoy.”
Readers can e-mail their federal representatives at www.tstc.org/notransittax/ to tell them that any tax deal must maintain fairness between the transit and parking benefits.