As many as 1 million New York City's straphangers might be missing out on a federally provided tax break every time they refill their MetroCard. A new city council bill would make 605,000 of them eligible. Credit: Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
As many as 1 million New York City straphangers might be missing out on a federally provided tax break every time they refill their MetroCard.
A new report indicates that a transit rider making about $50,000 annually who purchases a monthly MetroCard could save about $443 a year by participating in the tax break.
To that end, a bill to be introduced by Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick on Tuesday would require that any business with 20 or more employees offer the transit benefits.
According to the report released by transit advocacy group the Riders Alliance, about 750,000 New Yorkers are enrolled in the tax-break program.
If the bill makes it way through City Hall, an additional 605,000 New Yorkers would become eligible.
"Many of us feel like the MTA treats us like a piggy bank," Garodnick said. "Helping New Yorkers take advantage of this tax benefit is an important way we can put a little more cash in their pockets at the end of the day."
Proponents of the bill argued that the law would come with no cost to employers, adding that they would actually benefit. Business owners could actually save about $103 a year per employee who takes part in the program, which has employers only pay payroll taxes on a worker's taxable income, allegedly saving more money than they would spend in adopting it.
Covered by federal law, it allows riders to put aside up to $130 a month before taxes to cover subway and bus fares. Employers then either offer their workers a prepaid card or a debit card only usable at MTA vending machines.
"Transit benefits are a win-win for employers and workers," wrote Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin in a statement.