Stringer's commuter tax a bad idea from long ago
by Larry Penner
Apr 24, 2012 | 2118 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Manhattan Borough President and 2013 mayor candidate Scott Stringer's proposal to reintroduce a nonresident commuter tax is disappointing. This old recycled idea periodically proposed by many others missed the potential consequences of his position.

In today's global economy, boundaries which end at the city line mean very little. We are all neighbors and thankfully there has never been a Berlin Wall between us.

The United States is in economic competition against other nations. Within the USA, residents of the Northeastern states compete against other state coalitions based in the geographic South, Rocky Mountains, West and other regions.

Our metropolitan New York area is in competition against other metropolitan areas around the nation and world. I work in New York City. My wife and I travel around the five boroughs enjoying shopping, dining, going to the movies, visiting museums and taking advantage of the diverse different neighborhoods.

We are not alone. Each weekday several hundred thousand Long Island and other suburban residents travel to jobs in New York City. Many others enjoy sporting events, theater, museums, restaurants and shopping.

Likewise, a growing number of NYC residents have become reverse commuters to jobs in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties along with New Jersey and Connecticut. Other New York City residents attend sporting events, shop, dine and visit other places on Long Island.

It is naive to believe that New York City can survive economically in today's ever-changing technology and global economy without Long Island and the rest of metropolitan New York. The suburbs around the Big Apple are equally dependent on the success of New York City.

In the end, residents of Long Island and New York City have much in common. We should work together as neighbors and not adversaries. Reintroduction of a commuter tax on one set of nonresidents could trigger an economic tariff war among neighbors.

With the financial crises on Wall Street followed by our economic recession, thousands of commuters residing outside of New York City lost their jobs. As a result, the reintroduction of any nonresident commuter tax will not bring in the same level of revenues as was the case during the 1990's when it was last in place.

It could result in a retaliatory commuter tax by the impacted suburban county or neighboring state on New York City residents. At the end of the day, everyone could lose.

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