On Tuesday, the City Council voted in favor of a federal tax break for New York City commuters: up to $130 of pre-tax earnings set aside for transit costs, to be available to employees of businesses with more than 20 full-time employees.
A 30-day unlimited MetroCard currently costs $112, or $113 if you have to buy a new one. Because of a tricky thing where some months have 31 days, this means 13 purchases a year, or more than $1,450. Under the new law, this sum, while still sizable, will at least be tax-free. The New York Post reported on the passage of the law, which has spurred the usual twin cheers of “Power to the working class!” and “What will become of businesses?!”
Pre-tax transit spending is a luxury of many 9-to-5 jobs in New York City, one of the fringe benefits that go along with a salaried job. (One such program is through TransitChek.) Although all salaries are not created equal, the stability of a salaried job certainly eases the financial hurt of re-upping every thirty days. Ironically, the contingent of workers and commuters who would most benefit from such a tax break have been—at least until now—those for whom it was out of reach.
Pre-tax transit spending for full-time workers is a huge step forward in improving quality of life for all New Yorkers. The Post estimated that a person making $33k per year could save nearly $450 on their tax bill—or, four months of MetroCards. The stale, subway air just got a little nicer for all of us.
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