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Senate Passes Bill to Restore Commuter Tax Break

Measure would nearly double pre-tax commuter benefits.

The Senate Finance Committee passed a bill Thursday that would bring back a federal tax break for commuters, according to Newsday.

According to Newsday [paid link]:

From 2009 until January, commuters could set aside as much as $230 a month tax free to cover their public transportation costs. When the law expired, the benefit rolled back to $120 per month. A similar tax break for those who drive to work increased this year from $230 to $240 a month.

This benefit would be retroactive to January.

While the Senate initially approved this measure in February, it did not pass as part of a transportation bill in June. At that time the New York State Transportation Equity Alliance and Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council "strongly supported" these pre-tax commuter benefits.

"The U.S. Senate Finance Committee's approval of this legislation is a step in the right direction...Now Washington needs to keep moving forward, reach an agreement to restore this benefit, and finally deliver a result for overtaxed, overburdened commuters," said State Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., R-Merrick, the bill's sponsor.

"This is a wrong which must be righted," Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council chairman Mark Epstein told Newsday.

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