Schumer Wins Tax Benefits for Bikes, Trains and Broadway Shows

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:07pm

Observers of Sen. Charles E. Schumer had to know what would follow Thursday’s tax extenders markup: laudatory press releases.  

Schumer’s press operation has churned out no fewer than three separate releases about the Thursday Finance Committee markup of the tax extenders legislation, which ultimately sailed through the committee on a voice vote. All told, the package would extend most of 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013.  

The Schumer efforts included allowing commuter tax benefits for those who use bike sharing services.  

“Bike-share programs are a boon to commuters, the economy and clean air – and those who use them deserve the same benefits granted to those who drive cars and use mass transit to get to work,” Schumer said in a statement in the bike release.  

“This legislation will encourage employers to offer bike-share memberships as perks to their employees, much like transit benefits for other kinds of commutes, and will enhance both the financial standing and the importance of these programs,” Schumer added. “We’re riding quickly down the path and getting close to enacting this provision into law.”  

That wasn’t the only pun of the day. Schumer also lauded inclusion in the extenders package of a revived tax credit for short-line railroads, which are prevalent in upstate New York.  

“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly pass this bill to reinstate the credit and get our short-line railways chugging along on new infrastructure improvements,” Schumer said in that one.  

In a third release, Schumer praised a bipartisan amendment that would create a startup innovation tax credit, which is aimed at helping new startups without income tax liabilities. That’s based on legislation championed by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and a bipartisan coalition.  

The New York Democrat was also involved in an effort to allow live theater productions to claim a tax benefit for movie and TV studios. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., had an amendment on the subject, and language was included in a modified mark from Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore.