Monday, October 6, 2008

Bike Commuters Benefit From Pork

Well, it seems after the Bail out bill failed the first time and despite the publics outcry against it. The House and Senate did what any reasonable legislative body would do. Repackage it by tacking on lots of incentives in the way of other projects that have been lingering on the bench just waiting for the right time to don a helmet and get in the game.

One of those items added and passed was bill H.R. 1424 by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. Which mean that bike commuters can now get a tax break and start benefiting from the current economic crisis a little more more than we already do. Before you start making plans for that fully carbon ride you've been eyeing however. The break only pays out $20 a month or $240 for the year. Not much I know, but it's a start.

I'm not sure how the implementation process will work. I suggest you keep an eye on Bikes Belong and The League of American Bicyclists for more information.

A complete breakdown of the whole package can found here.

Section 211 of the Senate Bailout bill states:

“(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.

(b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking `and’ at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting `, and’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.

(c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term `qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year 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.

`(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term `applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.

`(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term `qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee–
`(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and

`(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’.

(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting `(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’ after `qualified transportation fringe’.

(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.”

pension protection act, ppa, senate, bailout, HR 1424, bicycle commuting, qualified transportation, 132(f), ERISA


Archi-Phreak said...

A $240 reimbursement for an entire calendar year is next to nothing, but it's something. Perhaps in subsequent years as cycle commuters become larger in number more generous tag relief/benefits can be gotten. A minor, almost insulting, start, but a start nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Well here we go down the traditional pork-recipient path:
1. Gov't gives us money (or doesn't take away as much) for something other than salary paid for work done.
2. We complain that it's so little that it's almost insulting, but we'll take it... I guess.
3. We look forward to the future growth of pork and make demands that the government give us "our fair share."

I regret the fact that riding a bicycle puts me in this class of pork consumer. I am now officially a part of the problem.