Washington, DC (Tuesday, January 24, 2012)
Transit Groups and Riders Advocate for Reversal of Expected Tax Increase of Up to $550
Led by the CommuterBenefitsWorkForUs.Com coalition, which includes public agencies, transit operators and private businesses, pressure has grown for Congress to quickly pass legislation that would reverse cuts to the monthly pretax transit benefit available to commuters who use public transportation and vanpools. Without a fix, the monthly amount that can be set aside for public transportation expenses has been reduced from $230 to $125 per month. As a result, many are projected to face an increase in annual commuting costs of up to $550 this year. At the same time, the amount that can be set aside to cover parking costs as part of a commute to work increased from $230 to $240 per month due to a cost of living adjustment.
"In this economy, it makes no sense to sock hard-working mass transit commuters with a new tax increase," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, the senior senator from the State of New York. "Congress must step up to the plate and extend the full mass transit tax benefit as part of the payroll tax cut. It's simply not fair to squeeze middle class mass transit commuters with a more expensive commute."
Beyond the direct efforts of the members of the CommuterBenefitsWorkForUs.Com coalition, individual commuters have sent over 60,000 letters to Members of Congress with advocacy tools available through the Coalition's website, www.commuterbenefitsworkforus.com.
"As Americans face the impact of increased commuting costs due to this cut in benefits, I hope they would join others who have already spoken out on this issue, and encourage their members of Congress to adopt the legislative fix that now has the support of seventy two of my colleagues in the House and Senate," said Senator Schumer.
The Coalition urges Congress to fast-track pending legislation introduced by Senator Charles Schumer and Representative James McGovern (S. 1034 and HR 2412) that would permanently establish parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit. A possible legislative vehicle for restoring the higher level for the transit portion of the commuter benefit includes the new tax and transportation related legislation, which Congress is expected to move on in early 2012.
Commuter Benefits Work For Us
The CommuterBenefitsWorksForUs.com coalition is dedicated to promoting public transit, vanpooling and the use of pretax transit benefits in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, while supporting American families and the general economy. The coalition includes public agencies, transit operators, private businesses and concerned citizens.
WageWorks (NYSE: WAGE) is a leader in administering Consumer-Directed Benefits (CDBs), which empower employees to save money on taxes while also providing corporate tax advantages for employers. WageWorks is solely dedicated to administering CDBs, including pre-tax spending accounts, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), health and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), as well as Commuter Benefit Services, including transit and parking programs, wellness programs, COBRA, and other employee benefits. WageWorks makes it easier to understand and take advantage of Consumer-Directed Benefits for 58,000 employers and approximately 4.5 million people. WageWorks is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in major locations throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.wageworks.com.