Tepid Praise, Sharp Criticism Greet Rep. Hayworth's Commuter Tax Cut Bill
Submitted by Dan Hendrick on Thu, 2012-07-12 11:16.
U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth, who represents parts of Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, has introduced a bill to restore a tax credit for mass transit riders, but response to her plan was less than enthusiastic.
The maximum deducted on a pre-tax basis from paychecks for this purpose was cut to $125 per month, down from $240 in January when the federal tax code provision expired.
Hayworth said she wants to cover the $139 million annual cost of the tax breaks, which would apply to 2012 and 2013, with money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, part of the federal Affordable Health Care Act just upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Veronica Vanterpool, the new executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said her group applauds Congresswoman Hayworth "for wanting to restore parity between the transit commuter and parking commuter benefits," but pointed out similar bills have already been introduced. She also voiced concern about how the tax breaks would be paid for under Hayworth's proposal and said "attaching the bill to contentious funding sources" could hurt its chances.
The New York Daily News was less diplomatic, offering this scathing appraisal : "Sen. Chuck Schumer mounted a drive for reauthorization (of the commuter tax break.). The Senate went along. The obstacle was the House, which is controlled by Republicans like Hayworth, Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm, Queens Rep. Bob Turner and Long Island Rep. Pete King. Grimm, Turner and King threw themselves into the battle to save the break.
"Hayworth went missing in action - despite having 31 Metro-North stations in her district. The measure died in a conference committee June 29. That very day, she strode forth with a press release, announcing that she was introducing legislation to restore the tax break she had allowed her colleagues to kill without a whisper of protest."
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