City Hall – Council Member Michael C. Nelson today called on Governor Paterson and the State Legislature to reinstate the “Commuter Tax”, a modest charge on non-residents who work in New York City and benefit from city services. If the tax was reinstated, it would generate approximately $500 million in revenue for the City. Such a funding stream would be critical in light of the City’s current financial situation, which threatens core services such as police and fire protection, education, and senior centers.

It was estimated that prior to its repeal, 450,000 non-residents were paying the commuter tax – providing the City with $360 million in annual revenue. Since the repeal of the tax, New York City has lost an estimated $5 billion.

“While the proposed reinstatement of the commuter tax will cost a commuter, each day, less than a subway ride, the revenue generated from it will provide substantial economic relief to New York City at this most challenging time and will help to compensate the City for the cost of the many benefits provided to commuters, said Council Member Michael C. Nelson.”

From 1966 to 1999, when the State repealed the tax, commuters contributed their fair share for use of city services such as police, fire, and road maintenance. This reasonable tax was levied at a mere .45 percent of commuters’ wages.

“There is an essential fairness in the commuter tax,” said Council Member Lewis A. Fidler. “Like the hotel tax, which ensures that tourists pay for the services that they use when they are in our City, a commuter tax does the same for people who work here.”

Although the more than 500,000 non-residents who commute into the City to work help make New York City the economic engine for the state, they also utilize a good portion of City services. Therefore, it is essential that commuters contribute their fair share.

Nelson has introduced a resolution urging the Legislature and the Governor to support the passage of A.7812 and S.5291, legislation that would reinstate the commuter tax. The commuter tax has recently gained key support from Mayor Bloomberg and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.