Friday, May 18, 2007

Thundering Hoofbeats

These are the responses to my May 17th, article, "Eight Years Ago Today 5.19.99 Commuter Tax Was Repealed by Speaker Silver's Assembly Loss to NYC so Far $4 Billion", please continue to provide us with your feedback


  1. As a life-long New Yorker I never supported the commuter tax, out of simple basic fairness, and was happy when it was repealed -- regardless of the political trainwreck that resulted in its repeal.

    Although you note, quite correctly, that supporters of the commuter tax claim "[t]he rationale for the tax was that commuters received police, fire, sanitation and other services while they were in the city, and should therefore pay a small share (about ten per cent) of what city residents pay in the city income tax" that always struck me as pure rationalization and not an equitable or rational basis. Commuters work for companies, companies, particularly those south of 96th -- unless they've managed to squeeze the city for generous tax breaks -- pay significant taxes. The commuters pay sales tax on their lunches and purchases here, etc. If these people decided to "vote with their feet" to escape the clutches of NYC's politics NYC's reverse money-grab strikes me as distinctly inequitable.

    Also, I love it the way commentators, and you're not alone, fall into the semantic trap of phrasing such no longer in force taxes as the city "losing", as if that money was somehow rightfully the city's to begin with. I like, many other middle-class New Yorkers, already think we're taxed to death in New York state and city, a feeling that the Business Council of New York State, Inc. confirmed again this past Tuesday, stating that once again New Yorkers suffer the highest total per-capita tax burden in the nation at $5,770 per resident (link

  2. I examined the commuter-tax issue when Mayor Bloomberg proposed re-imposing it. Alas, the appealing argument that commuters are getting services for which they don't pay does not hold water: They already pay more than the value of those services. My analysis, which appeared in the New York Post, is attached.
    I hope you send it out even if it is contrary to your policy position. I'd be happy to get a rebuttal.

  3. And how did the city of saps, to which so much fiscal harm was done,
    punish the malefactor? Sheldon, mug 'em again.

  4. Excellent. A Day That Will Live In Infamy. And you name names.