House fails to reverse commuter benefit cut

A 90-day transportation bill approved Thursday by the House of Representatives does not include the commuter tax break parity provision that was included in the Senate's version.

"Congress has left many commuters one stop short of their destination," said Dan Neuburger, President of WageWorks Commuter Benefit Services and member of the CommuterBenefitsWorkForUs.com coalition, in a statement. "Due to politics getting in the way of sound public policy, the House failed to give commuters the break they need and deserve. While the Senate did its part, the House has kicked the can down the road, forcing many middle-class Americans to forego another three months of tax savings."

While benefits for mass transit commuters were reduced from $230 to $125 per month at the beginning of 2012, the cap for parking costs was increased from $230 to $240 per month. The failure to restore parity between parking and mass transit benefits effectively reduces the allowable contribution for mass transit commuters by $690 over the first six months of 2012 - a reduction that could cost individual commuters as much as $270 this year, according to Wageworks.

President Obama signed the  three-month extension of a transportation bill that would keep federal transit and highway programs, but the measure does not include the parity provision that was first urged by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

"Millions of Americans rely on pre-tax commuter benefits to manage and hold down the costs of an increasingly expensive commute to work," added Neuburger. "With gas prices on the rise, commuters using mass transit to get to work need a break, not a penalty."

 

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