Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, a likely candidate for mayor in 2013, kept pushing for his commuter tax proposal this weekend by writing a column for New Jersey’s Star-Ledger newspaper on the issue.
“We still rely on just two rail tunnels to connect New Jersey to Manhattan,” he wrote. “This is an unsustainable path for our entire region. That’s why I’ve proposed a broad-based plan to repair our regional transportation network — a plan that, yes, includes restoration of a commuter tax that New Jersey residents, who worked in New York City, paid for 30 years prior to 1999.”
Mr. Stringer argued that by having commuters from the Garden State pay into the city’s transportation system, they themselves would benefit.
“Nobody wants to pay more taxes,” he continued. “I get that. But the truth is that we are already paying for our lack of investment in transit infrastructure through soaring debt payments and increased fares. I don’t have to tell working families in Jersey about fare hikes. As with New York City transit, NJ Transit and PATH fares have soared in recent years.”
Not only does Mr. Stringer’s position place him at odds with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he’s also on the opposite side of the fence of the Star-Ledger ’s editorial board, which wrote that Mr. Stringer “lobbed a new grenade across the Hudson River.”
The publication doesn’t really believe that grenade could come to pass, however.
“Stringer’s proposal is a campaign stunt: He’s running for mayor in 2013; no politician ever lost votes by promising millions of other people’s dollars,” they contended. “Even as mayor, Stringer would have no power to enact a commuter tax. Lawmakers in Albany have to do that.”