Kitchen-sink legislation watch. $700B to bail out Wall Street needs more bailout ballast to gain liftoff.
Bailout Bill Addresses Bikers
WASHINGTON, DC (BRAIN)—Employers of people who bicycle to work stand to gain a $20 per month tax credit per cycling employee, according to the Senate’s version of the Wall Street bailout bill, H.R. 1424.
The bill passed yesterday by a vote of 74 for and 25 against the bill and now goes to the House for a vote. The bicycle tax provision was part of an additional $110 billion in line items added to the already $700 billion bailout package.
What does bicycle commuting have to do with credit issues or covering the debt racked up on Wall Street? Bicycle commuting advocate Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic Representative from Oregon, was one of the 228 United States House Representatives who voted against the House version of the bailout package. House members looking to pass a bailout bill need to convince as least 12 of the dissenters to switch their position and vote for a bailout bill.
According to a Blumenauer spokeswoman, the bicycle commuting tax credit has the Representative’s attention, according to a report by www.govexec.com. However, Blumenauer said he was opposed to the bill because it failed to include bankruptcy equity for homeowners, not because employers of bicycle commuters suffered unfair tax burdens. He is also against incentives for coal-based liquids, tar sands and oil shale also included in the Senate’s bill.
The employer tax break is laid out in Sec. 211, “Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters,” which is under the Transportation and Domestic Fuel Security Provision section in H.R. 1424. The $20 a month tax relief per bicycle commuting employee is to cover the cost of any employer reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee “for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.”