For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2012
Freeholders oppose proposed NYC commuter tax
0.45 percent levy would pose
‘unfair financial burden’ on county, state
Listen to Freeholder Director Curley's comments
FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has adopted a resolution opposing a commuter tax on those who work in New York City but do not live there.
The resolution comes on the heels of reports that Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer wants to re-institute a “commuter tax” on anyone who works in New York City, but does not reside there. The New York Times reports that Stringer is a likely candidate for mayor next year.
“It seems Mr. Stringer has found a safe way to campaign for New York City mayor on a platform of higher taxes,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said. “Since this tax would not the increase the levy for city residents, none of his constituents would have to pay for it.”
The commuter tax was in place for 33 years before it was eliminated by the New York Legislature in 1999. Stringer, a state assemblyman at the time, voted against the repeal.
“This tax would pose an unfair financial burden on the residents of Monmouth County and other counties and the surrounding tri-state area who commute to New York City every day for work,” Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “It is an unconscionable attempt by New York City to solve its financial woes on the backs of the 300,000 New Jersey residents who work there.”
As proposed by Stringer, the tax would generate $725 million per year and would be used to provide a consistent stream of revenue to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to pay for commuter railroads, subways and buses. The tax would be 0.45 percent, the same as it was in 1999.
“It’s not the responsibility of the 24,000 commuting residents of Monmouth County to fund the MTA to make up for decades-long mismanagement at the New York-based Authority,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “This is New York sticking it to New Jersey again.”
Under Stringer’s proposal, the tax would be levied on the income of commuters who work in New York City but live elsewhere.
“Many families are facing unemployment or underemployment issues and are struggling just to get by until the economy improves,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso said. “While it is never a good time to place an added tax on people, now is certainly not the best time. It penalizes people lucky enough to have a job just because they have to cross the river to get to it.”
In 2009, New York enacted the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax, a 0.34 percent levy on payrolls and self-employment earnings in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. Called a “mobility tax,” it provides funding for the MTA.
“New York City officials should come to Monmouth County to see how we have dealt with the Great Recession,” Freeholder Gary J. Rich Sr. said. “The answer lies not in finding new taxes to impose, but in cutting spending and finding ways to provide necessary services more cheaply.”
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