commuters lose transit, parking, biking benefits in gop tax reform bill.
above > the caption for an article reading : safety in numbers – more bike riders means safer streets
“the concern is if employers can’t write it off, they won’t offer it. it’s clearly a negative for commuters,” said rob healy, vice president for governmental affairs at the american public transportation association. // this article edited for brevity
now commuters are among the losers in proposed republican tax reform bill about to be passed.
the bill eliminates the tax incentive for private employers to subsidize employees’ transit, parking, and bicycle commuting expenses.
currently, companies can provide parking or transit passes worth up to $255 a month to employees towards commuting expenses, and deduct the costs. that amount was set to be $260 a month on jan. 1.
the reasoning, the benefits deduction substantially lowers the corporate tax rate but is blamed for the current complicated tax codes. it’s suggested, in the future companies can provide the passes to employees, but no longer get the tax deduction. employees who pay for their own transportation costs can still use pre-tax income.
the employer subsidies are generally more lucrative than pre-tax income for commuting cost.
“the concern is if employers can’t write it off, they won’t offer it. it’s clearly a negative for commuters,” said rob healy, vice president for governmental affairs at the american public transportation association.
businesses that provide employees a $20 per month benefit for commuting by bicycle can no longer write off the benefit. without that incentive, the few employers offering the benefit may discontinue it, said ken mcleod, policy director for the league of american bicyclists.
getting rid of the bicycle benefit, would save the government $5 million a year, mcleod said. however, the parking benefit earns the government about $7.3 billion a year in parking taxes, according to transitcenter, a transit advocacy group.
the house version of the tax bill retained the benefit, but the senate version eliminated it.
in a letter to the committee’s chairman, sen. orrin hatch, r-utah, and senior democrat, sen. ron wyden, d-oregon, 20 bicycle groups wrote about the biking benefits. what bothers bicyclists the most, mcleod said, isn’t about money, but “just feels like the federal government doesn’t support biking.
“i don’t know if that is something the legislators meant to express,” he said, “but that’s something we’re definitely hearing.”
[ full story ]
editor’s note > while there is no mention of increasing incentives for public transportation in this article it’s very obvious the current administration is also not wishing to align the u.s.a. with the benefits of worldwide bike-friendliness.
[ public transportation ] sitting in 23rd place, new york is the best city in north america for a sustainable and extensive subway system that operates 24 hours a day. it also boasts a positive people factor and ample wheelchair access for disabled travelers.
graphic by statista
[ bike friendly ] ranked at #18 minneapolis is the first american city to feature on the copenhagenize design co index since the number of cities we rank increased in 2013. minnesota’s largest metropolis has the lowest baseline score of all the cities in the top 20, but it makes up for that with bonus points in a number of categories. the city boasts 210 miles of bikeways. a respectable bike-share system is helping cement the bicycle in the transportation foundation of the city.
graphic by copenhagenize design co