Dispatch from Albany: New York State’s Transit Commuter Tax Benefit

Assemblyman Weisenberg is working to pass a tax benefit for transit commuters in the New York State Assembly

On January 1, transit commuters across the nation lost an important tax benefit. While drivers can deduct up to $240 in monthly commuting expenses from their pre-tax income, transit riders can now only deduct $125. In Albany, the Senate was quick to partially rectify the problem by passing a bill (S2728-C) that reinstated the benefit on the state level.

Unfortunately, the state Assembly has dragged its feet. The lower chamber’s “same as” bill (A 6175-B) is currently stuck in the Ways and Means Committee, and the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, is determined to get the bill moving. “This bill is environmentally friendly, very important to get people off the roads and put them on mass transit…I’m going to fight until I get the bill,” Assemblyman Weisenberg told Long Island’s News 12.

As Assemblyman Weisenberg and his allies work to pass the bill, it’s important to keep some of its strongest points in mind:

  • The bill doesn’t add bureaucracy. The current, reduced federal benefit of $125 per month for transit riders will continue to be processed normally for federal and state taxes, and the lost benefit (the $115 per month difference between the transit commuter tax benefit and the driver’s tax benefit) can be claimed by the taxpayer on his or her New York State tax return.
  • Transit riders throughout the state will benefit. Employers and commuters in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Utica save money through this benefit, not to mention those in the New York City metro area. In fact, New York State itself provides these benefits to its employees, as well as key unions.
  • The bill could save New York a lot of money. By adding an incentive to use transit, the state keeps added traffic off of its roads, and fewer cars means less expensive road maintenance. Furthermore, transit use pays other dividends, like cleaner air and healthier communities. Improving the bottom line of employers and employees means more cash in their pockets, and that will get our economy going again.
Bookmark and Share

4 comments to Dispatch from Albany: New York State’s Transit Commuter Tax Benefit

  • Transit Guy

    Given the whole federal deficit thing, the transit industry is going to loose something as everyone does there part for reducing the federal budget deficit. Would you rather loose the commutation benefit or federal formula funds for capital rehabilitation and construction?

    Instead of trying to climb back up to the parking benefit level why not urge Congress to help close the federal budget gap by lowering the parking benefit to the new transit level. The most important thing is a level playing field between driving and using transit.

    Very few transit riders, other than commuter rail riders, spend more than $115 per month anyway on transit fares.

  • Transit Guy

    Given the whole federal deficit thing, the transit industry is going to loose something as everyone does their part for reducing the federal budget deficit. Would you rather loose the commutation benefit or federal formula funds for capital rehabilitation and construction?

    Instead of trying to climb back up to the parking benefit level why not urge Congress to help close the federal budget gap by lowering the parking benefit to the new transit level. The most important thing is a level playing field between driving and using transit.

    Very few transit riders, other than commuter rail riders, spend more than $115 per month anyway on transit fares.

  • [...] earning $50,000 a year and spending $230 per month on transit will pay more than $400 extra. This bill, championed by Senator Charles Fuschillo, will permanently restore the commuter’s pre-tax [...]

  • [...] earning $50,000 a year and spending $230 per month on transit will pay more than $400 extra. This bill, championed by Senator Charles Fuschillo, will permanently restore the commuter’s pre-tax [...]

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>