8/2/12: Earlier today the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation, the “Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012,” that would extend a number of tax provisions that have expired or will expire at the end of this year, including a provision that would reinstate parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit through December 31, 2013 and make it retroactive back to January 1, 2012.
As you know, in 2010, as part of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” Congress included a provision that kept the mass transit portion of the commuter benefit at $230 per month for 2011, preventing a reduction to $125 per month, and keeping it equal to the parking tax benefit. Unfortunately, because Congress did not again extend the transit benefit before it expired at the end of 2011, the monthly maximum transit amount was reduced to $125 per month on January 1, 2012.
Meanwhile, due to an automatic cost of living increase, the monthly limit for the parking portion of the commuter benefit was increased from $230 per month to $240 per month for 2012, further exacerbating the current disparity between the transit and parking benefits. The tax package legislation would address this disparity by raising the transit benefit to $240 for all of 2012, and then maintain parity between the parking and transit benefits through the end of 2013.
Since Congress failed to extend the transit benefit by the end of 2011, NTEU has diligently worked with our supporters in Congress to highlight the importance of reinstating parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit. In testimony submitted to House and Senate Committees, and in letters to every member of the House and Senate, NTEU has highlighted the importance of the transit benefit to many working people, especially federal employees that use public transportation to get to and from work, and who rely on the benefit to provide relief in their commuting costs.
It is unlikely that the full Senate will consider the tax package, including the transit provision, before they adjourn for the entire month of August. However, in advance of their return, NTEU will continue working with our supporters in the Senate and the House to urge immediate reinstatement of parity between the transit and parking portions of the commuter benefit through passage of the “Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012,” or stand-alone legislation pending in the House and Senate (H.R. 2412/S.1034), the “Commuter Benefits Equity Act of 2011.” To see what you can do, please go to www.capwiz.com/nteu.