Senate tax bill kills bike commute $$

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Eric
Member
#

From the League of American Bicyclists

https://www.bikeleague.org/content/save-bike-commuter-benefit

Bad cut and paste job below:

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November 10, 2017
SAVE THE BIKE COMMUTER BENEFIT!

by Ken McLeod
Proposed Senate tax bill ENDS bike commuter benefit BUT keeps commuter tax breaks for driving!

The Senate tax reform plan released on Thursday, eliminates the bike commuter benefit while keeping commuter benefits for driving and riding transit! If Congress is going to support benefits for some commuters, they should offer them to all commuters. The commuter parking benefit costs the federal government over $7 billion each year – 35 times the highest possible cost of the bike benefit.

The Senate is trying to pass the bill as fast as possible – with Finance committee votes starting on Monday. We are working to get an amendment introduced to reinstate the bike benefit, so that the finance committee has a chance to reinstate the benefit to the growing number of bike commuters across the country.

Please act this weekend – Ask your Senator to reinstate the bike commuter benefit by clicking the link below.

If you Senator is on the Senate Finance Committee, we need you to tell them:

If Congress is going to offer commuter benefits to some commuters, they should offer them to all commuters!

Commuter benefits cost over $8.6 billion each year
If every bike commuter in the United States used the bike commuter benefit it would cost less than 2.5% of that amount
Eliminating the bike benefit alone does not significantly address revenue lost to commuter benefits
The bike commuter benefit is a low cost way to promote healthier, livable communities.

The average consumer spends over $4,500 each year on gas and other vehicle expenses
The average cost of bike commuting is $350 per year. The bicycle commuter benefit covers up to $240 each year to defray costs of purchase, maintenance, and improvements for commuter bicycles.
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Eric
Member
#

Sorry for the double post!  First one made it up, obviously, but also returned an error that there were more than 80 characters in the subject line.

 

If someone could delete the other post that would be great.

 

Also that web page has a fill in box allowing you to email both senators about this issue in about 10 seconds.


jonawebb
Participant
#

This is definitely something I think can go. It’s almost impossible to access. The employer has to do all the accounting work and the benefit is at most like $20 a month to that subset of employees who bike. Even Amazon, which is pro-bike and offers the public transit benefit, doesn’t offer this one. It’s just a poorly designed program.


Eric
Member
#

If they dump this then the pre-tax commuter parking should go too.


Mikhail
Member
#

Why? What is the logic connecting this two in this particular way?


Jacob McCrea
Participant
#

“This is definitely something I think can go. It’s almost impossible to access. The employer has to do all the accounting work and the benefit is at most like $20 a month to that subset of employees who bike. Even Amazon, which is pro-bike and offers the public transit benefit, doesn’t offer this one. It’s just a poorly designed program.”

I looked into this at a prior job and agree with your assessment. Even if my employer had wanted to fool around with the bike commuter program for the benefit of 2-3 people in the office (they didn’t and I don’t blame them), the problem was that you could not claim it if you also took advantage of the pre-tax treatment of parking costs. Due to time constraints, commuting distance and weather, there was no reality where the $20/month stipend (or whatever it was) could approach the savings from avoiding taxes on my parking costs. And even if I could have claimed both, the lost opportunity costs of fooling around with the paperwork would have rendered it worthless.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I agree it’s a poor program. It assumes people will bike exclusively, and that’s not how people work. It took me years to get to the point of regularly traveling by bike, and even then, half the time it was transit assisted.

Let’s take this opportunity to devise a sensible program that will actually encourage bike commuting. I’d rather see a more generous transit allowance for employers. Get people out of their cars first, then maybe they will consider adding a bike to the mix.


Benzo
Participant
#

Yeah, I wish I could have taken advantage of this as a daily, year round bike commuter, but my company never offered it. HR said there were no plans to. I’m just happy I have covered bike parking I guess. Kind of sucks that they made this so hard to implement.

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