Mayor Bloomberg took another shot at the taxi-tax portion of the state’s MTA bailout plan yesterday — saying he doubts revenue collectors will be able to concoct an effective system to collect the cash from drivers and garage owners.
“The [Legislature] is collecting 50 cents a ride from the taxis. I don’t know how you’re going to do that because you’re going to depend on these people to pay,” a confounded Bloomberg said on WOR News Talk Radio.
“That’s not likely.”
Bloomberg had previously slammed the concept of the taxi tax as a way to generate revenue for the cash-strapped MTA.
“They could charge $1 every time you take a shower. Who knows?” he said in April. “I don’t know how they collect it.”
Under the law passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Paterson earlier this month, the state Department of Taxation and Finance is responsible for somehow extracting $85 million each year from cab-driver and garage revenues.
Drivers will likely start collecting the new surcharge around November, a source said.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will have to overhaul the meters of each of the 13,237 yellow cabs on the road to charge the 50 cents, the source said.
But as far as collecting the funds, “the ball is in the state’s court,” a source said.
TLC chief Matthew Daus is going to answer the questions of state finance leaders in a conference call next week.
Both drivers and passengers railed against the new tax yesterday, calling it typical of the state to implement a new fee that they didn’t know how they would collect.
“They’re raising all the prices and we don’t know where it’s going, who’s taking it, and if it’s actually improving anything,” said Chelsea resident Rhett Bixler.
Queens resident Maureen Cinquemani, jumping out of a cab yesterday, said the new charge will make her tip less.
“They need to figure out how to get the money to Albany. If it’s not going where it’s supposed to go, it’s stupid to do it,” she said.
And fewer tips is exactly what taxi drivers don’t want to hear.
“It’s going to affect our business because it’s going to be too much for the customer, especially these days,” said Zorqi Abdel, a hack for more than five years.
“The customer is not going to be able to pay the tip that’s taking money out of our pockets,” he added.
The MTA bailout will also have a new tax on business payrolls, and new fees for driver’s licenses, automobile registrations and car rentals.
Cab riders also fumed at the MTA for needing the cash injection.
“It’s absurd. If they don’t know how this will even work, then why do it?” fumed Chelsea resident Rob Campbell.