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Local Pols Slam Talk of Reviving NYC Commuter Tax

With NYC mayoral candidates expressing support to bring back the tax, local politicians held a press conference Tuesday to denounce the idea.

Photo courtesy Town of Brookhaven
Photo courtesy Town of Brookhaven
Written by Ryan Bonner

Long Island residents who commute to New York City would be socked with hundreds of dollars in additional taxes each year if NYC mayoral candidates get their way.

The mayoral election is still months away, but the idea of reinstating the New York City commuter tax has been floated by several candidates. That has Long Island politicians furious and they promise to fight any proposal that would revive the tax, a .45 percent tax on the income of those who work, but do not live, in New York City. 

"The idea of reinstating the commuter tax is very bad economics," State Sen. Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, said. "Instead of saddling working Long Islanders with the burden of additional taxes, those proposing a reinstatement of this ill advised tax need to focus on cutting costs and improving efficiency across the board." 

Zeldin appeared at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station with Assemb. Al Graf, R-Holbrook, and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine to denounce plans to reinstate the tax, which was in place in the 1990s before being killed by the state legislature in 1999. 

NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner told reporters last month that whoever is mayor should fight to have it reinstated, according to a Newsday report

"It never should have been eliminated," Weiner said of the tax. 

Romaine called the commuter tax "unfair and burdensome" to Long Islanders who are already among the highest taxed in the state.

"It's wrong for New York City to think that they can balance their budget on the backs of hard-working commuters who were just hit with a significant [LIRR] fare hike in March," said Romaine, who estimated that average Long Island commuter would pay between $400-$500 a year if the commuter tax were put back in place.  

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